Effects of temperature and thermal acclimation on locomotor performance ofMacrobiotus hufelandi Schultze (Tardigrada: Macrobiotidae)
LI Xiao-Chen, WANG Li-Zhi
C o l l e g e o f L i f e S c i e n c e s , S h a a n x i N o r m a l U n i v e r s i t y , X i a n , S h a a n x i 7 1 0 0 6 2 , C h i n a
The beneficial acclimation hypothesis (BAH) predicts that animals acclimated to a particular temperature have enhanced performance or fitness at that temperature in comparison with animals acclimated to other temperatures.The BAH has been tested by a variety of empirical examinations, and was rejected by some of them. In order to provide new evidences for the BAH, the effects of acute and acclimation temperature (AT) on locomotor performance of Macrobiotus hufelandi (Tardigrada, Macrobiotidae) were investigated. The tardigrades were collected from Nanwutai, Qinling mountains which traverse from west to east in central China. The subjects were acclimated to either 2℃ or 22℃ for 2 weeks. The animal was transferred onto a frosted slide and allowed to walk freely at the performance temperature (PT) 2℃ or 22℃. Only one individual was tested per test bout, which lasted from three to five minutes. To avoid occurrence of thermal acclimation effect, the standard adaptation time was limited to 1.5 min. Each subject was tested for once at the same PT, and was tested only at one PT. A total of 25 individuals were tested and measured at the same PT.The locomotor performance of the animals was recorded with a digital video camera mounted on a microscope at 4×10 amplification and replayed on a PC. Every subject was identified. Walking speed (WS) and percentage of time moving (PTM) at both PTs (2℃ or 22℃) were selected as the rate parameters of locomotor performance. The two-way repeated measures ANOVA with a significance level of α= 0.05 and Duncan multiple range test were used to analyze the data. WS of the animals acclimated to and tested at the same temperatures was significantly faster than that for animals acclimated to and tested at the different temperatures, similarly, PTM of the animals acclimated to 22℃ and tested at 22℃ was significantly greater than PTM of animals acclimated to 22℃and tested at 2℃, which indicated that the animals acclimated to a particular temperature have enhanced locomotor performance in that temperature relative to the animals acclimated to that temperature in other thermal environment. WS of the animals acclimated to 22℃ and tested at 22℃ was significantly faster than WS of animals acclimated to 2℃and tested at 22℃, PTM of the animals acclimated to 22℃ and tested at 22℃ was significantly greater than PTM of animals acclimated to 2℃and tested at 22℃. These results supported the BAH. It could be concluded that the PT and thermal acclimation as well as the interaction between the PT and AT significantly influence the locomotor performance of M. hufelandi, and that, despite the existence of a few results of this study that don’t support the BAH, some results of this study support for this hypothesis, and that the animals acclimated to a particular temperature have enhanced locomotor performance in that temperature relative to the animals acclimated to that temperature in other thermal environment, implying that any performance temperature that deviates from the acclimation temperature could cause the reduction of the walking speed which is closely related to the fitness of the M. hufelandi [Acta Zoologica Sinica 51(3): 516–520, 2005].