We examined the respiratory patterns of Rhodnius prolixus and Gromphadorhina portentosa as metabolic rates varied with temperature to determine whether insects transition from discontinuous (DGC), cyclical and continuous respiration as a response to increasing aerobic demand. Using flow through respirometry we: (1) determined the effects of temperature on metabolic rate; (2) objectively defined periods of spiracular closure; (3) observed whether there was a correlation between metabolic rate and length of spiracular closure. At low temperatures both species exhibit lengthy periods of spiracular closure reflecting a discontinuous respiratory pattern. As metabolic rate increased, periods of spiracular closure decreased and insects displayed a more cyclical pattern of respiration. As metabolic rates increased even further under the highest experimental temperatures, periods of spiracular closure decreased even more and a continuous respiratory pattern was employed by both species. Our results suggest that the three described respiratory patterns in insects are not distinct but are instead a continuum of respiratory responses driven by the metabolic demand experienced by the insect.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.