Study Finds Cave Beetles Retain Some Ability to Thermoregulate

February 12, 2015 / Spain, Europe
The geographical distribution of the species used in the experiments.

The geographical distribution of the species used in the experiments. Photo via BMC Evolutionary Biology

Scientists studying the relationship between species traits and their habitats used cave beetles which lived in relatively constant temperatures.

Their research, published earlier this month in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, subjected Troglocharinus cave beetles, collected from cave in the Iberian Peninsula, to a variety of temperatures.

One set of beetles (T. fonti Jeannel) was collected from caves in the Pyrenees where the temperature is between 4-11°C, while the other (T. ferreri Reitter) came from caves on the Catalonia coast where the temperatures ranged between 14-16°C.

After exposing the specimens to different temperatures for different lengths of time, the researchers discovered that both species of beetles could survive short-term temperatures up to 50°C and down to -2.5°C. However, none survived extended temperatures between 23-25°C.

This shows that the two species, despite evolving in different environments still retain similar thermoregulation capabilities, although their ability is not the same as their surface relatives.

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