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 journalArticlepeer-review

    37 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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