Vanin, Stefano, Bubacco, Luigi and Beltramini, Mariano (2008) Seasonal variation of the trehalose and glycerol concentration in winter-snow active insects. CryoLetters, 29 (6). pp. 485-491. ISSN 0143-2044

Different kinds of molecules were identified as antifreezing agents in the body fluids of cold tolerant invertebrates: sugars, polyols and proteins. While none of the active arthropods were so far reported to accumulate polyols, these compounds are present in the haemolymph of species that hibernate in a passive stage such as diapause. In this work we investigated insect species that are active during winter and we demonstrated the ability of the mecopteran Boreus hiemalis (Mecoptera, Boreidae), the wingless fly Chionea sp. (Diptera, Limoniidae) and cantharid larvae (Coleoptera, Cantharidae) to accumulate sugars in their haemolymph to survive during winter. We report, for the first time, that for snow-active insects, trehalose comprises an important haemolymph component, its concentration changing as a function of the season, suggesting that the same adaptive strategies against cold conditions have evolved both in winter active and winter diapausing insects.

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