Oxygen supply limits the chronic heat tolerance of locusts during the first instar only

Jacob P. Youngblood, John M. VandenBrooks, Oluwatosin Babarinde, Megan E. Donnay, Deanna B. Elliott, Jacob Fredette-Roman, Michael J. Angilletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although scientists know that overheating kills many organisms, they do not agree on the mechanism. According to one theory, referred to as oxygen- and capacity-limitation of thermal tolerance, overheating occurs when a warming organism's demand for oxygen exceeds its supply, reducing the organism's supply of ATP. This model predicts that an organism's heat tolerance should decrease under hypoxia, yet most terrestrial organisms tolerate the same amount of warming across a wide range of oxygen concentrations. This point is especially true for adult insects, who deliver oxygen through highly efficient respiratory systems. However, oxygen limitation at high temperatures may be more common during immature life stages, which have less developed respiratory systems. To test this hypothesis, we measured the effects of heat and hypoxia on the survival of South American locusts (Schistocerca cancellata) throughout development and during specific instars. We demonstrate that the heat tolerance of locusts depends on oxygen supply during the first instar but not during later instars. This finding provides further support for the idea that oxygen limitation of thermal tolerance depends on respiratory performance, especially during immature life stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104157
JournalJournal of insect physiology
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Heat tolerance
  • Hypoxia
  • Ontogeny
  • Survival
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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