Temperature Regulation during Locomotion in Insects

  • Bernd Heinrich


Locomotion in insects, as in other animals, requires repeated muscle contractions, and the speed and force of the contractions are a function of muscle temperature. Within limits, the higher the muscle temperature, the greater is the maximum rate of work output (see review by R. K. Josephson, 1980). Since different modes of locomotion require rates of work output that vary over an order of magnitude, the minimum muscle temperature required could presumably differ. In addition, a walking insect can potentially move at a fast or a slow pace, with maximum pace being dictated by muscle temperature. Flight, on the other hand, is an all-or-none response that requires a minimum work output, and a minimum muscle temperature. Rate of wing movements, however, varies greatly between species, and force per wing-beat can vary within the same insect, depending on flight speed and load.


Dung Beetle Flight Muscle Work Output Thoracic Ganglion Muscle Temperature 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernd Heinrich
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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