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Loss of ion homeostasis is not the cause of chill coma or impaired dispersal in false codling moth Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

Karsten, Minette, Lebenzon, Jacqueline E., Sinclair, Brent J., Terblanche, John S.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology 2019 v.229 pp. 40-44
Thaumatotibia leucotreta, ambient temperature, cold treatment, cooling, flight muscles, hemolymph, homeostasis, ions, magnesium, moths, potassium, sodium, sterile insect technique
Dispersal is a central requirement of a successful sterile insect release programme, but field-released false codling moth (FCM) typically suffer from poor dispersal ability, especially at low ambient temperatures. Here we test the hypothesis that poor activity and dispersal in FCM is caused by delayed or perturbed recovery of ion and/or water homeostasis after chilling for handling and transport prior to field release. Hemolymph and flight muscle were collected from two treatment groups at three time points that targeted thermal conditions above and below the chill coma induction threshold of ~ 6 °C: 1) control moths kept at 25 °C, 2) moths exposed to 3 °C or 9 °C for 4 h, and 3) moths allowed to recover at 25 °C for 24 h after exposure to either 3 °C or 9 °C. We measured concentrations of Na+, K+ and Mg2+ in the hemolymph and muscle collected at each time point. Exposure to a chill-coma inducing temperature had little effect overall on ion balance in the hemolymph and flight muscle of false codling moth, but hemolymph [Na+] decreased from 10.4 ± 0.4 mM to 6.9 ± 0.7 mM as moths were chilled to 3 °C and then increased to 10.4 ± 0.9 mM after the 24 h recovery period. In the 9 °C cooling treatment, [K+] increased from 8.2 ± 0.5 mM during chilling to 14.1 ± 1.9 mM after the 24 h recovery period. No changes were seen in equilibrium potentials in either of the ions measured. Thus, we did not find evidence that water and ion homeostasis are lost by the moths in chill coma and conclude that reduced dispersal in field-released moths is not direct a consequence of the costs of re-establishment of homeostasis.