Rapid induction of the heat hardening response in an Arctic insect

Mathias Hamann Sørensen*, Torsten Nygård Kristensen, Jannik Mørk Skovgaard Lauritzen, Natasja Krog Noer, Toke Thomas Høye, Simon Bahrndorff

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to cope with increasing and more variable temperatures, due to predicted climate changes, through plastic and/or evolutionary responses will be crucial for the persistence of Arctic species. Here, we investigate plasticity of heat tolerance of the Greenlandic seed bug Nysius groenlandicus, which inhabits areas with widely fluctuating temperatures. We test the heat tolerance and hardening capacity (plasticity) of N. groenlandicus using both static (heat knock down time, HKDT) and dynamic (critical thermal maximum, CTmax) assays. We find that N. groenlandicus is able to tolerate short-term exposure to temperatures up to almost 50°C and that it can quickly increase heat resistance following heat hardening. Furthermore, we find that this hardening response is reversible within hours after hardening. These findings contrast with common observations from temperate and tropical insects and suggest high thermal plasticity in some Arctic insects which enables them to cope with extreme temperature variability in their habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20190613
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Critical thermal maximum
  • Hardening
  • Heat knock down
  • Nysius groenlandicus
  • Reversibility
  • Static and ramping assays

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