A rapid cold hardening process is reported in first instar larvae of Frankliniella occidentalis. When larvae are transferred directly from 20 degrees C to -11.5 degrees C for 2h there is 78% mortality, whereas exposure to 0 degrees C for 4h prior to transfer to -11.5 degrees C reduces mortality to 10%. The response can also be induced by exposure to 5 degrees C for 4h or by gradual cooling at rates between 0.1 and 0.5 degrees C min(-1.) The acquired cold tolerance is transient and is rapidly lost (after 1h at 20 degrees C). Rapid cold hardening extends survival times at -11.5 degrees C and depresses lethal temperatures in short (2h) exposures. Rearing at 15 degrees C (12L:12D), (a cold acclimation regime for F. occidentalis), does not protect against the cold shock induced by direct transfer to -11.5 degrees C (which rapid cold hardening does) but does extend survival time at -5 degrees C (i.e. increased chill tolerance) whilst rapid cold hardening does not. The rapid and longer term cold hardening responses in F. occidentalis therefore appear to have different underlying mechanisms.
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