, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 179-184

Ecology of Cryptopygus sverdrupi (Insecta: Collembola) from Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

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Observations on the ecology of Cryptopygus sverdrupi Lawrence (Collembola, Isotomidae) were made with specimens from the Mühlig-Hofmannfjella, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. At an elevation of 1600 m a.s.l. the species was numerous in association with the green alga Prasiola on gravel fields and in crevices of large boulders. The distribution of size-classes in field samples suggested that the population comprised several overlapping generations. Growth and development is probably very slow due to long winters and daily periods of subzero temperatures in their microhabitat during the summer. Specimens collected in mid-January had a mean supercooling point of-24.6°C with small individual variations. The lack of high supercooling points in the summer suggests that the springtails feed on a nuleatorfree diet. The ability to supercool was increased during prolonged starvation and acclimation at 0,-4 and-8°C. Glycerol and other potential low molecular weight cryoprotective substances were demonstrated in specimens acclimated at-4 and-8°C. The species possessed a relatively high tolerance to desiccation.

Publication No. 81 of the Norwegian Antarctic Research Expeditions (1984/85)