Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Global warming threatens many tropicsl insects

WASHINGTON, May 5 (Xinhua) -- As the global climate warms, many tropical insects face extinction unless they can adapt in some way, researchers in the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reported Monday.

Insects are not able to control their temperature, which is dictated by the environment. All animals can live within a range of temperatures, but for each species, there is a "best" temperature not too far below the highest temperature it can tolerate.

Curtis Deutsch from University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues constructed "fitness curves," which show how life forms thrive or perish depending on temperature, for 38 species of insects from around the planet.

The researchers then compared how the insects fared in the late20th century and estimated the insects' survival probabilities based on climate predictions for the late 21st century.

The outlook is not good for tropical insects, particularly those near the equator, where insects are already living close to the maximum temperature for their species, according to the authors.

They predict that a climate warming of 2-4 degrees Celsius will likely kill tropical insects, along with other cold blooded animals such as frogs and lizards. Some may be able to evolve or migrate, but probably not all species, they say.

News Courtesy: China View

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