Colour in insect thermoregulation

Empirical and theoretical tests in the colour-changing grasshopper, Kosciuscola tristis

K. D L Umbers*, M. E. Herberstein, J. S. Madin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Body colours can result in different internal body temperatures, but evidence for the biological significance of colour-induced temperature differences is inconsistent. We investigated the relationship between body colour and temperature in a model insect species that rapidly changes colour. We used an empirical approach and constructed a heat budget model to quantify whether a colour change from black to turquoise has a role in thermoregulation for the chameleon grasshopper (Kosciuscola tristis). Our study shows that colour change in K. tristis provides relatively small temperature differences that vary greatly with wind speed (0.55 °C at ms-1 to 0.05 °C at 10 ms-1). The biological significance of this difference is unclear and we discuss the requirement for more studies that directly test hypotheses regarding the fitness effects of colour in manipulating body temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

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