The mangrove ant, Camponotus anderseni, switches to anaerobic respiration in response to elevated CO2 levels

M NIELSEN, Keith Christian

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The small tree-living mangrove ant Camponotus anderseni is remarkably adapted for surviving tidal inundation. By blocking the nest entrance with a soldier's head, water intrusion into the nest cavity can be effectively prevented, but lack of gas-exchange caused extremely high concentrations of CO2 (> 30 %) and very low O2 concentrations (< 1 %). The O2 uptake in experiments with CO2 absorption showed a linear decrease until about 4%, whereas the O2 uptake in chambers without absorbent showed a decrease with a different pattern, consisting of three parts. The first component of this decrease is a linear decrease to about 18%, which is the normal O2 concentration in open natural nests. The second phase is an exponential decrease continuing to about 4% O2, showing that the CO2 concentrations have influence on the O2 uptake. The final component is also exponential, but with a much smaller slope. The respiratory quotient (RQ) was 0.92 until CO2 concentration increased to about 15-17%, and after that it showed a strong increase, which is due to the initiation of anaerobic respiration. Anaerobic respiration has not been demonstrated for social insects before, but it is not surprising that it is found in this ant species, which lives in the extreme conditions of a hollow twig in an inundated mangrove. � 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)505-508
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
    Volume53
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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