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J Insect Physiol. 2005 Dec;51(12):1346-51. Epub 2005 Sep 28.

Interpopulational variation in recovery time from chill coma along a geographic gradient: a study in the common woodlouse, Porcellio laevis.

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Instituto de Ecología y Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.


Extreme temperatures restrict the performance of terrestrial arthropods and variations in low temperatures on a latitudinal scale influence physiological variables. Recovery time from chill coma is a measure of cold tolerance and it is a good index of climatic adaptation. We tested differences in recovery time of the common woodlouse (Porcellio laevis) exposed to different thermal conditions. Individuals were sampled from four different populations in Chile, spanning a latitudinal range of approximately 10 degrees . Significant differences were found in recovery time among experimental temperatures and among populations, but no interaction between these factors. The results of recovery time in P. laevis showed a positive increment with annual mean minimum temperature, indicating that there is geographical variation in recovery time. While body mass presented interpopulational variation, this variation was not associated with thermal variables or latitude. Overall, our results agree with previous studies in the sense that recovery time from chill coma decreases towards high latitudes, and it is independent of taxa, continent and hemisphere.

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