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Assessing the sensitivity of Melanoplus frigidus (Orthoptera: Acrididae) to different weather conditions: A modeling approach focussing on development times

Finch, Oliver-D., Löffler, Jörg, Pape, Roland
Insect science 2008 v.15 no.2 pp. 167-178
Calluna vulgaris, Melanoplus, Vaccinium myrtillus, adults, air temperature, climate change, indicator species, insect development, microhabitats, models, molting, soil temperature, soil water, spring, vegetation, weather, Norway
The temperature and soil moisture conditions as well as vegetation patterns were studied to describe the habitat and to model the life cycle of Melanoplus frigidus, a true alpine grasshopper of the Scandes. In the low alpine belt of the Norwegian Scandes the species colonizes only the warmest microhabitats with maximum soil surface temperatures of 31°C. Vegetation of these habitats consists of shrub-rich heath dominated by Vaccinium myrtillus and Calluna vulgaris. Using continuously measured temperature data, the development times for four different seasons were modeled and related to field observations. The maximum delay of adult molt was estimated to amount to 3 weeks, the delay being determined by the variation in spring temperature conditions between different years. The possibilities of using M. frigidus as an indicator organism of climate change effects on alpine zoo-coenoses of the Scandes are discussed.