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J Insect Physiol. 2011 Aug;57(8):1170-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2011.04.011. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

Probability of freezing in the freeze-avoiding beetle larvae Cucujus clavipes puniceus (Coleoptera: Cucujidae) from interior Alaska.

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University of Alaska Fairbanks, Institute of Arctic Biology, PO Box 757000, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000, United States.


Freeze-avoiding insects must resist freezing or die. A suite of adaptations to low temperatures, including the production of antifreeze proteins, colligative antifreezes (polyols), and dehydration allows most individuals to prevent freezing below the lowest ambient temperatures experienced in situ; however, there can be a wide variance in the minimum temperatures that individuals of freeze-avoiding species reach before freezing. We used logistic regression to explore factors that affect this variance and to estimate the probability of freezing in larvae of the freeze-avoiding beetle Cucujus clavipes puniceus. We hypothesized that water content ≤0.5 mg mg(-1) dry mass would lead to deep supercooling (avoidance of freezing below -58°C). We found a significant interaction between water content and ambient below-snow temperature and a significant difference between individuals collected from two locations in Alaska: Wiseman and Fairbanks. Individuals collected in Wiseman deep supercooled with greater water content and to a greater range of ambient temperatures than individuals collected in Fairbanks, leading to significantly different lethal water contents associated with 50% probability of freezing.

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