Air flow rates may confound the investigation and classification of insect gas exchange patterns. Here we report the effects of flow rates (50, 100, 200, 400 ml min(-1)) on gas exchange patterns in wild-caught Glossina morsitans morsitans from Zambia. At rest, G. m. morsitans generally showed continuous or cyclic gas exchange (CGE) but no evidence of discontinuous gas exchange (DGE). Flow rates had little influence on the ability to detect CGE in tsetse, at least in the present experimental setup and under these laboratory conditions. Importantly, faster flow rates resulted in similar gas exchange patterns to those identified at lower flower rates suggesting that G. m. morsitans did not show DGE which had been incorrectly identified as CGE at lower flow rates. While CGE cycle frequency was significantly different among the four flow rates (p<0.05), the direction of effects was inconsistent. Indeed, inter-individual variation in CGE cycle frequency exceeded flow rate treatment variation. Using a laboratory colony of closely related, similar-sized G. morsitans centralis we subsequently investigated the effects of temperature, gender and feeding status on CGE pattern variation since these factors can influence insect metabolic rates. At 100 ml min(-1) CGE was typical of G. m. centralis at rest, although it was significantly more common in females than in males (57% vs. 43% of 14 individuals tested per gender). In either sex, temperature (20, 24, 28 and 32 degrees C) had little influence on the number of individuals showing CGE. However, increases in metabolic rate with temperature were modulated largely by increases in burst volume and cycle frequency. This is unusual among insects showing CGE or DGE patterns because increases in metabolic rate are usually modulated by increases in frequency, but either no change or a decline in burst volume.
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