Thoracic Temperature Stabilization byn Blood Circulation in a Free-Flying Moth

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Science  01 May 1970:
Vol. 168, Issue 3931, pp. 580-582
DOI: 10.1126/science.168.3931.580


The sphinx moth, Manduca sexta, maintains its thoracic temperature within a degree of 42°C while in free flight over a range of air temperatures from about 17° to 32°C. Tying off the dorsal vessel abolishes temperature control. Moths with tied off vessels overheat and then stop flying at air temperatures of about 23°C. However, flight at this temperature is possible when the thoracic scales are removed. The mechanism of temperature control involves transfer of the heat produced in the thorax to the blood pumped from the dorsal vessel, and the subsequent dissipation of this heat when the blood returns to the relatively cool abdomen.

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