Temperature can be used to predict respiratory patterns of insects

Katilyn Tate, Chandler Rostochil


Biologists have largely shown that ectotherms metabolisms are responsive to changes in ambient temperature, such that the rate at which respiration takes place varies directly with temperature. In the case of some insects, however, the actual patterns of respiration employed at different temperatures are asymmetric to what is commonly expected for ectotherms. Various entomology studies suggest that insects have two unique modes of respiration that they alternate between: cyclical and continuous. It is understood that an insect’s metabolic rate at a given time is what determines whether their respiratory patterns are cyclic or continuous, which led us to propose that temperature could be used to predict these patterns. Our experiment found that the metabolic rate of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (G. portentosa) increases with temperature, driving a shift between discontinuous (cyclic) and continuous respiration. We anticipate that the results of our experiment linking temperature and respiratory patterns could be explained in future studies of spiracular behavior as influenced by temperature.

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