Eur. J. Entomol. 104 (1): 9-14, 2007 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2007.002

Moist habitats are essential for adults of the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica (Diptera: Chironomidae), to avoid dehydration

Joshua B. BENOIT1, Giancarlo LOPEZ-MARTINEZ1, Michael A. ELNITSKY2, Richard E. LEE2, David L. DENLINGER1
1 Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA; e-mail: benoit.8@osu.edu
2 Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA

Desiccation resistance of adult males and females of the midge, Belgica antarctica (Diptera: Chironomidae) was evaluated to determine how this short-lived stage maintains water balance in the dry Antarctic environment. Both sexes had slightly lower water content (≈60%) and a higher dehydration tolerance (>30% water loss) than most other insects. Water loss rates were high and increased rapidly at temperatures above 15°C, indicating that the adult midges are more hygric than many other polar terrestrial arthropods. Water gain was accomplished by free water uptake with minimal or no contribution from absorption of water vapor or metabolic water production. Parameters related to water balance did not differ among populations from different islands. Overall, the high water requirements of the adult midge appear to be a significant challenge and presumably dictate that the adult midges must emerge during the brief period when free water is readily available and seek protected microhabitats that facilitate water retention.

Keywords: Antarctica, polar insect, dehydration, water balance, midge, Chironomidae, Belgica antarctica

Received: July 6, 2006; Accepted: August 17, 2006; Revised: August 17, 2006; Published: January 3, 2007Show citation

ACS AIP APA ASA Harvard Chicago IEEE ISO690 MLA NLM Turabian Vancouver
BENOIT, J.B., LOPEZ-MARTINEZ, G., ELNITSKY, M.A., LEE, R.E., & DENLINGER, D.L. (2007). Moist habitats are essential for adults of the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica (Diptera: Chironomidae), to avoid dehydration. Eur. J. Entomol.104(1), 9-14. doi: 10.14411/eje.2007.002.
Download citation

References

  1. ARLIAN L.G. 1979: Significance of passive sorption of atmospheric water vapor and feeding of the rice weevil, Sitophilus oryzae. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. (A) 62:725-733 Go to original source...
  2. ARLIAN L.G. & EKSTRAND I.A. 1975: Water balance in Drosophilia pseudoobscura, and its ecological implications. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 68: 827-832 Go to original source...
  3. ATCHLEY W.R. & DAVIS B.L. 1979: Morphometric variability in larvae of the Antarctic fly, Belgica antarctica (Diptera: Chironomidae). Can. J. Zool. 57: 2311-2318 Go to original source...
  4. ATCHLEY W.R. & HILBURN L.R. 1979: Chromosomal variation in the Antarctic insect, Belgica antarctica (Diptera: Chironomidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 72: 246-252 Go to original source...
  5. BAUST J.G. & LEE R.E.JR. 1983: Population differences in antifreeze/cryoprotectant accumulation patterns in an Antarctic insect. Oikos 40: 120-124 Go to original source...
  6. BAUST J.G. & LEE R.E.JR. 1987: Multiple stress tolerance in an Antarctic terrestrial arthropod: Belgica antarctica. Cryobiology 24: 140-147 Go to original source...
  7. BENOIT J.B., YODER J.A., RELLINGER E.J., ARK J.T. & KEENEY G.D. 2005: Prolonged maintenance of water balance by adult females of the American spider beetle, Mezium affine Boieldieu, in the absence of food and water resources. J. Insect Physiol. 51: 565-573 Go to original source...
  8. CONVEY P. 1992: Aspects of the biology of the midge, Eretmoptera murphyi Schaeffer, introduced to Signy Island, maritime Antarctic. Polar Biol. 12: 653-657 Go to original source...
  9. CONVEY P. & BLOCK W. 1996: Antarctic Diptera: ecology, physiology and distribution. Eur. J. Entomol. 93: 1-13
  10. CONVEY P., PUGH P.J.A., JACKSON C., MURRAY A.W., RUHLAND C.T., XIONG F.S. & DAY T.A. 2002: Response of Antarctic terrestrial arthropods to long-term climate manipulations. Ecology 83: 3130-3140 Go to original source...
  11. EDNEY E.B. 1977: Water Balance in Land Arthropods. Springer, Berlin, 282 pp
  12. GIBBS A.G. 2002: Water balance in desert Drosophila: lessons from non-charismatic microfauna. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. (A) 133: 781-789 Go to original source...
  13. HADLEY N.F. 1985: The Adaptive Role of Lipids in Biological Systems. Wiley, New York, 319 pp
  14. HADLEY N.F. 1994: Water Relations of Terrestrial Arthropods. Academic Press, New York, NY, xiv + 356 pp
  15. HAYWARD S.A.L., WORLAND M.R., CONVEY P. & BALE J.S. 2003: Temperature preference of the mite, Alaskozetes antarcticus, and the collembolan, Cryptopygus antarcticus from maritime Antarctic. Physiol. Entomol. 28: 114-121 Go to original source...
  16. KIKAWADA T., MINAKAWA N., WATANABE M. & OKUDA T. 2005: Factors inducing successful anhydrobiosis in the African chironomid Polypedilum vanderplanki: significance of the larval tubular nest. Integ. Comp. Biol. 45: 710-714 Go to original source...
  17. LEE R.E.JR., ELNITSKY M.A., RINEHART J.P., HAYWARD S.A.L., SANDRO L.H. & DENLINGER D.L. 2006: Rapid cold-hardening increases freezing tolerance of the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica. J. Exp. Biol. 209: 399-406 Go to original source...
  18. PECKHAM V. 1971: Notes on the chironomid midge Belgica antarctica Jacobs at Anvers Island in the maritime Antarctic. Pacif. Insects Monog. 25: 145-166
  19. RINEHART J.P., HAYWARD S.A.L., ELNISTSKY M.A., SANDRO L.H., LEE R.E.JR. & DENLINGER D.L. 2006: Continuous upregulation of heat shock proteins in larvae, but not adults, of a polar insect. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (in press) Go to original source...
  20. SOKAL R.R. & ROHLF F.J. 1981: Biometry. W.H. Freeman, New York, NY, 859 pp
  21. SUEMOTO T., KAWAI K. & IMABAYASHI H. 2004: A comparison of desiccation tolerance among 12 species of chironomid larvae. Hydrobiologia 515: 107-114 Go to original source...
  22. SUGG P., EDWARDS J.S. & BAUST J. 1983: Phenology and life history of Belgica antarctica, an Antarctic midge (Diptera: Chironomidae). Ecol. Entomol. 8: 105-113 Go to original source...
  23. USHER M.B. & EDWARDS M. 1984: A dipteran from south of the Antarctic Circle: Belgica antarctica (Chironomidae) with description of its larva. Biol. J. Linn. Soc . 23: 19-31 Go to original source...
  24. WHARTON G.W. 1985: Water balance of insects. In Kerkut G.A. & Gilbert L.I. (eds): Comprehensive Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology. Vol. 4. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp. 565-603
  25. WINSTON P.W. & BATES D.S. 1960: Saturated salt solutions for the control of humidity in biological research. Ecology 41: 232-237 Go to original source...
  26. WORLAND M.R. & BLOCK W. 2003: Desiccation at sub-zero temperatures in polar terrestrial arthropods. J. Insect Physiol. 49: 193-2003. Go to original source...
  27. YODER J.A. & BENOIT J.B. 2003: Water vapor absorption by nymphal lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae), and its ecological implications. Int. J. Acarol. 29: 259-264 Go to original source...
  28. YODER J.A., DENLINGER D.L. & WOLDA H. 1992: Aggregation promotes water conservation during diapause in the tropical fungus beetle, Stenotarsus rotundus. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 63: 203-205 Go to original source...

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original publication is properly cited. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.