Mathematical modeling of the temperature field distribution in insect winter clusters
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- Eskov, E.K. & Toboev, V.A. BIOPHYSICS (2009) 54: 85. doi:10.1134/S000635090901014X
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A model is proposed for the distribution of temperature fields and mechanisms of thermoregulation in an insect (honeybee) cluster self-organizing for protection against long-term cooling. The winter cluster is an ordered system of heat generation, accumulation, and dissipation. Estimates are obtained for the influence of ambient temperature that promotes clustering and of the number of clustered insects on the efficiency of cold protection. Described are the dynamic links between the cluster structures that ensure minimal energy expenditures in metabolism and thermoregulation; this allows the cluster to withstand the long unfavorable exposure to temperature varying far beyond the limits of viability for an individual insect.