Natures wonders: antarctica flies use antifreeze (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 23, 2019, 02:20 (411 days ago) @ David Turell

To protect eggs and larvae in summer:

"University of Cincinnati biologist Joshua Benoit traveled to this Land of the Midnight Sun to learn how Antarctica's only true insect can survive constant freezing and thawing. He found that the midges have surprising adaptations for life in their wintry realm.


"For his latest project, Benoit examined the molecular mechanisms underlying the fly's reproduction. Like other midges, adult flies mate in big swarms during the brief Antarctic summer. The females lay eggs that hatch about 40 days later. Then the newborn flies spend the next two years developing as larvae, entombed for much of the year in ice.

"It's only in their last week of life that they spread their wings, so to speak, as fully formed adults. They die just days after mating.


"...during the Antarctic summer, daily temperatures can soar into the 40s and dip well below freezing. UC researchers wanted to know how the midge's eggs tolerate such big temperature swings.

"'The females secrete this clear jelly around the eggs. Essentially, it's like antifreeze," UC student and study lead author Geoffrey Finch said. "It acts as a temperature buffer against those fluctuations to help them survive."

"The gel also helps the eggs survive Antarctica's other defining climate feature—its dryness. Antarctica is home to the world's biggest desert. Belgica can survive even after losing more than 70 percent of its water content. By comparison, studies have found that people begin to suffer cognitive impairments when we lose as little as 2 percent of our water content through dehydration.

"'So having all these unique adaptations is what allows them to live in this extreme environment," Benoit said.

"UC's researchers found that the flies begin synthesizing components found in the temperature-resistant gel they they will use to protect their eggs many months in advance as mere larvae.

"'That was kind of interesting," Finch said. "The gel has a lot of unique components. We found some of them were already being manufactured in the larval stage.'"

Comment: Another form of extremophile. This had to designed all at once, or the flies ere there when Antarctica was warm and hey had time to invent these methods and adapted, probably with God's help.

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