Flight of Winter Moths Near 0°C

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Science  12 Apr 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4696, pp. 177-179
DOI: 10.1126/science.228.4696.177


Some noctuid winter moths fly at near 0°C by maintaining an elevated(30° to 35°C) thoracic muscle temperature. Geometrid winter moths sustain themselves in free flight at subzero muscle temperatures. However, the temperature characteristics of citrate synthase and pyruvate kinase from both of these different kinds of moths and from a sphinx moth that flies with a muscles temperature of 40°C are nearly identical. Furthermore, mass-specific rates of energy expenditure of both kinds of winter moths are also similar at given thoracic temperature (near 0°C). The geometrids that are able to fly with a thoracic temperature near 0°C do so largely because of unusually low wing-loading, which permits a low energetic cost of flight.

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