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Antarctica's only native insect could be destined for extinction as winters warm


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Over tens of millions of years, the wingless midge Belgica antarctica has perfected the art of freezing itself to push through the darkest and coldest of Antarctica's winter months, carving out an exclusive niche as the continent's only native insect. 

As climate change nudges polar temperatures ever higher, this hard-earned set of survival skills could ironically be detrimental to its very existence, potentially driving it to the brink of extinction.

Laboratory experiments conducted by a team of researchers from the US, UK, and South Africa showed warmer winters in the frozen south greatly impacted the insect's movements and energy stores, jeopardizing the chances of it seeing another summer.

https://www.sciencealert.com/antarctica-s-only-native-insect-could-be-destined-for-extinction-as-winters-warm

This research was published in Functional Ecology.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2435.14089

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