A comparative analysis of metabolic rate in six Scarabaeus species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) from southern Africa: further caveats when inferring adaptation Academic Article uri icon


  • Alterations in VO(2) or VCO(2) are amongst the more polemical physiological adaptations ascribed to insects. Generally, metabolic rate is thought to be lowered in response to arid conditions, and elevated in species from cold environments compared to their more temperate relatives. However, most studies have rarely addressed the influence of both environmental factors in unison. To this end, standard metabolic rate and its temperature dependence were measured (at 4 degrees C intervals from 16 to 32 degrees C) in six Scarabaeus dung beetle species (three flightless, three volant) from a variety of habitats (warm, arid to cool, mesic) in southern Africa using flow-through respirometry. Mass specific VCO(2) varied from 0.0158 ml g(-1) h(-1) at 16 degrees C to 0.1839 ml g (-1) h(-1) at 32 degrees C. The slopes of the rate temperature curves were similar for all species (Q(10)s of 2.14-2.84), although the intercepts differed significantly in the direction (warm arid to cool mesic): S. gariepinus

publication date

  • April 2000