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J Insect Physiol. 1999 Jul;45(7):655-666.

Standard metabolic rate of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren: effects of temperature, mass, and caste.

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


Standard metabolic rates of S. invicta workers, males, female alates, larvae and pupae were determined using closed-system respirometry. Vdot;(O(2)) (ml h(-1)) of all castes and life stages scaled with temperature and mass. Differences between castes and life stages are discussed in light of their different life histories and the different functions of these stages within the colony. Workers, female alates, male alates, larvae and pupae had mass-specific Vdot;(O(2)) (ml O(2) g wet weight(-1) h(-1), corrected to 25 degrees C) of 0.404+/-0.023, 0.316+/-0.010, 0.674+/-0.024, 0.291+/-0.020, and 0.227+/-0.015 (mean+/-SE), respectively. Measurement of CO(2) and O(2) made possible the examination of temperature and mass effects on respiratory quotient (RQ), as well as accurate transformation of O(2) consumption to metabolic rate (&mgr;W) for comparison with other ant species. Mass-specific metabolic rates of S. invicta females and workers compare favorably with data from 17 other ant species, but metabolic rates of males (177%) and pupae (42%) fall above and below predicted rates, respectively. Several equations relating temperature and mass to Vdot;(O(2)) are presented.

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