Swimming performance and thermal resistance of juvenile and adult newts acclimated to different temperatures
Thermal acclimatory adjustments of locomotor performance and thermal tolerance occur commonly in ectothermic animals. However, few studies have investigated ontogenetic differences in these acclimatory responses, and thus, their causes remain unclear. In this study, juvenile and adult Chinese fire-bellied newts (Cynops orientalis) were acclimated to one of two temperatures (16 or 24 °C) for 4 weeks to examine ontogenetic differences in acclimation effect on burst swimming speed, and critical thermal minimum (CTMin) and maximum (CTMax). Swimming performance was thermally acclimated in both juvenile and adult C. orientalis. Adult newts had greater absolute swimming speeds than juveniles, which may simply result from their larger sizes. Cold acclimation enhanced low-temperature resistance, and warm acclimation enhanced high-temperature resistance in both juveniles and adults. Despite no ontogenetic difference in CTMin, adult newts had greater CTMax and acclimation response ratio than juveniles, indicating their greater abilities to withstand extreme high temperatures and manage rapid temperature shifts. Ontogenetic change in the thermal acclimatory responses of newts may be related to changes in the thermal environment they experience.
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