NO aspect of the physical environment is more important to insects than temperature. In most environments temperature fluctuates through time, but insects also experience extreme temperature variations in space. A large mass, such as a human body weighing 65 kg, would register no measurable temperature increase by stepping from shade to sunshine for several minutes; a 10 mg fly, however, heats up some 10 ° C in only 10 seconds when it lands in a sunfleck. Needless to say, the thermal environment faced by insects is potentially much more severe than it is to us or to any other vertebrate animal. And it is probably not an exaggeration to claim that insects have evolved some of the most amazing feats of thermal adaptation and thermoregulation in the entire animal kingdom. Yet, little over 20 years ago, that statement would have seemed eccentric.


Body Temperature Specific Heat Capacity Vertebrate Animal Thermocouple Wire Free Flight 
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© Bernd Heinrich 1993

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