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Physiological responses to temperature in Merizodus soledadinus (Col., Carabidae), a subpolar carabid beetle invading sub-Antarctic islands

Abstract : Recent human activities and rising air temperature have increased the vulnerability of sub-Antarctic islands to alien species. At the Kerguelen Islands, the predaceous ground beetle Merizodus soledadinus is the only invasive insect originating from the southern cold temperate area (native from Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and Falkland Islands). This austral origin raises the question of the limits of its physiological tolerance and capability to withstand (1) global change and (2) warmer climates of archipelagos where its accidental transportation could be facilitated from the Kerguelen Islands (namely Amsterdam and Saint Paul). Using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry metabolomics, we compared metabotypes of adults exposed to different temperatures (0, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 °C). All individuals survived after 2 weeks regardless of the temperature they were exposed to. The physiological changes observed were consistent with increased metabolic rate at increased temperatures, without extreme metabotypes that are characteristic of acute stress. First cues of sublethal stress were observed after prolonged exposure to 20 °C, a warm regime unrealistic for such duration in sub-Antarctic Islands. Overall, M. soledadinus’ thermal tolerance exceeded temperatures currently experienced in nature, suggesting that climate warming may boost its invasion by eliciting its activity and broadening habitat suitability in both invaded and still pristine islands. This thermal tolerance may allow survival aboard ships and development in sub-Antarctic islands with conditions warmer than the Kerguelen Islands, such as Amsterdam and St Paul. Stringent biosecurity measures are thus needed to prevent transfer from Kerguelen to these islands. The native range of this predaceous beetle limited to the Falkland Islands and southernmost South America may be partly constrained by factors other than temperature, such as desiccation, predation or competition
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 3:34:03 PM
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M. Laparie, D Renault. Physiological responses to temperature in Merizodus soledadinus (Col., Carabidae), a subpolar carabid beetle invading sub-Antarctic islands. Polar Biology, Springer Verlag, 2016, 39 (1), pp.35-45. ⟨10.1007/s00300-014-1600-0⟩. ⟨hal-01255879⟩

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