Polar Biology

, 31:215 | Cite as

Critical thermal limits and their responses to acclimation in two sub-Antarctic spiders: Myro kerguelenensis and Prinerigone vagans

  • K. R. Jumbam
  • J. S. Terblanche
  • J. A. Deere
  • M. J. Somers
  • S. L. ChownEmail author
Original Paper


Despite the relative richness of spider species across the Southern Ocean islands remarkably little information is available on their biology. Here, the critical thermal limits of an indigenous (Myro kerguelenensis, Desidae) and an introduced (Prinerigone vagans, Linyphiidae) spider species from Marion Island were studied after 7–8 days acclimation to 0, 5, 10 and 15°C. Critical thermal minima (CTMin) were low in these species by comparison with other spiders and insects measured to date, and ranged from −6 to −7°C in M. kerguelenensis and from −7 to −8°C in P. vagans. In contrast, critical thermal maxima (CTMax) were similar to other insects on Marion Island (M. kerguelenensis: 35.0–35.6°C; P. vagans: 35.1–36.0°C), although significantly lower than those reported for other spider species in the literature. The magnitude of acclimation responses in CTMax was lower than those in CTMin for both species and this suggests decoupled responses to acclimation. Whilst not conclusive, the results raise several important considerations: that oxygen limitation of thermal tolerance needs to be more widely investigated in terrestrial species, that indigenous and alien species might differ in the nature and extent of their plasticity, and that upper and lower thermal tolerance limits might be decoupled in spiders as is the case in insects.


Phenotypic Plasticity Thermal Tolerance Acclimation Temperature Spider Species Acclimation Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Kamva Qwede and all the members of the 2005 Marion Island relief who assisted with spider collection. We are grateful to Michele Walters for discussion of a previous version of the manuscript, and the referees for their useful and constructive comments. The South African National Antarctic Programme provided logistic support at Marion Island, and the USAID Capacity Building Programme for Climate Change Research provided KRJ with financial support. This is a contribution to the SCAR EBA programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. R. Jumbam
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. S. Terblanche
    • 2
  • J. A. Deere
    • 2
  • M. J. Somers
    • 1
    • 3
  • S. L. Chown
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Applied Behaviour and Ecology Laboratory, Department of ZoologyWalter Sisulu UniversityUnitraSouth Africa
  2. 2.Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and ZoologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  3. 3.Centre for Wildlife ManagementUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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