Daily and seasonal changes in heat exposure and the Hsp70 level of individuals from a field population of Xeropicta derbentina (Krynicki 1836) (Pulmonata, Hygromiidae) in Southern France
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The Mediterranean land snail Xeropicta derbentina forms huge populations in Southern France. In order to characterize heat exposure and the induction of the 70-kD heat shock protein (Hsp70) response system during the life cycle of this snail, a selected population from the Vaucluse area, Provence, was investigated encompassing the issues of morphological life cycle parameters (shell size and colouration), the daily courses of heat exposure at different heights above the ground, of shell temperature, and that of the individual Hsp70 levels. The study covered all four seasons of the year 2011. Snails were found to be annual, reaching their final size in August. The shell colouration pattern showed high variation in juveniles (spring) with a strong tendency towards becoming uniformly white at old age in autumn. In all seasons, ambient air temperature decreased with increasing distance from the ground surface during daytime while remaining constantly low in the night. Overall, the Hsp70 level of individuals followed the ambient temperature during diurnal and seasonal variations. Correlation analysis revealed a positive association of individual shell temperature and Hsp70 level for the most part of the life cycle of the snails until late summer, whereas a negative correlation was found for aged animals indicating senescence effects on the capacity of the stress response system.
KeywordsHeat shock response Mediterranean land snail Stress proteins Temperature Life cycle
The authors would like to thank Wolfgang Rähle, Edmund Gittenberger, Sergej Sereda and Thomas Wilke for their contribution in snail species determination and discussion. Furthermore, we would like to thank Stefanie Krais and Katharina Graf for assistance in field work, Simon Schwarz for his help with the statistics and Nishrin Schacherbauer for proofreading. The study was financed by the German Research Council (DFG Ko 1978/5-3) and the University of Tübingens’s twinning project with the University of Applied Sciences Esslingen under the supervision of H.-R.K., U.G., Stefan Rösler, and David Wharam.
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