Thermal sensitivity of growth and feeding in Manduca sexta caterpillars

Joel G. Kingsolver, H. Arthur Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore how the thermal sensitivity of organismic performance emerges from the thermal sensitivity of the underlying component processes involved, using growth and feeding of Manduca sexta caterpillars as a model system. We measured thermal performance curves for short-term rates of growth, consumption, protein (casein) digestion, amino acid (methionine) uptake, and respiration in fifth-instar caterpillars over a biologically realistic temperature range from 14°to 42°C. Growth and consumption rates increased between 14°C and 26°C, reached a maximum value near 34°C, and declined rapidly above 38°C. In contrast, protein digestion rate and respiration rate increased monotonically over the entire temperature range, and amino acid uptake rate increased with temperatures up to 38°C and then leveled off between 38°and 42°C. These results suggest that the shape and position of the thermal performance curve for growth rate-in particular the maximum at 34°C and rapid decline above 38°C-was most closely correlated with the thermal sensitivity of consumption rate; the declining growth performance above 38°C was not associated with declines in digestion or uptake rates or with accelerated respiration rates at these temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-638
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiological Zoology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997


Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal sensitivity of growth and feeding in Manduca sexta caterpillars'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this