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J Insect Physiol. 2000 Apr;46(4):403-416.

Discontinuous gas exchange in the fire ant, Solenopsos invicta Buren: Caste differences and temperature effects.

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Department of Entomology, 301 Funchess Hall, Auburn University, Auburn, USA


The discontinuous gas exchange cycle (DGC), the cyclic release of CO(2) and uptake of O(2), were investigated in workers and female and male alates of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, using real-time CO(2) emission measurement by flow-through respirometry. All S. invicta castes displayed discontinuous emission of CO(2) in the temperature range of 15-25 degrees C, but only male alates and workers exhibited a DGC at 30 degrees C. The closed (C) and flutter (F) periods of the DGC were distinguishable in alates of both sexes at the lowest temperature, but not clearly differentiated in females at temperatures above 15 degrees C, in males above 20 degrees C, or workers at any temperature. DGC frequency increased for all castes as temperature increased, ranging from a low of 0.9+/-0.05 mHz (male alates at 15 degrees C) to 18+/-0.79 mHz (workers at 30 degrees C). O period (or burst) volumes of all castes decreased as temperature increased, and increased with body mass - this mass effect was most pronounced at lower temperatures. Q(10) values for DGC frequency (4.27, 5.81, and 5.62 for workers, female and male alates, respectively) were high compared with Q(10)'s for standard Vdot;(CO(2)). Differences in the salient characteristics of the DGC between castes are presented and discussed, and S. invicta DGC patterns are compared to known values for some other ant species.


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