The thermal implications and ecological consequences of coloration in selected species : tenebrionid beetles (Onymacris bicolor and Onymacris ungui cularis), Cape gannets (Morus capensis) and Cape cormorants (Phalacrocorax capensis)

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Louw, Gideon en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Lombard, Amanda T en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2014-10-11T12:21:52Z
dc.date.available 2014-10-11T12:21:52Z
dc.date.issued 1989 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Lombard, A. 1989. The thermal implications and ecological consequences of coloration in selected species : tenebrionid beetles (Onymacris bicolor and Onymacris ungui cularis), Cape gannets (Morus capensis) and Cape cormorants (Phalacrocorax capensis). University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/8419
dc.description Bibliography: leaves 176-192. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract The thermal significance of coloration was investigated in two species of Namib Desert tenebrionid beetles and two species of marine birds. Body temperatures and heat fluxes of a black beetle (Onymacris unguicularis) and a beetle with white elytra (Onymacris bicolor) were compared in a wind tunnel in the laboratory. The effects of visible radiation, infrared radiation, conduction, convection, beetle colour and substratum colour on body temperature were analysed. Results showed that body colour has no overall effect on body temperature. Black elytra are warmed more by visible radiation, but colour is not relevant to heat loss by convection, or to heat flux between a beetle and a heated sand substratum, whether by emitted radiation or reflected visible radiation. 0. bicolor absorbs more heat by conduction and free convection from a heated substratum, but differences in shape between the two species may explain this effect. Combining the various modes of heat exchange to simulate natural conditions reveals that the extra heat absorbed by black elytra is readily dissipated by convection, and owing to the increased heating of white beetles from the substratum, heat fluxes between the two beetles balance. Body temperatures of dead and live beetles of both species were also measured in the field. Experiments were conducted on a hot sand substratum in the beetles' natural environment, under both visible (sunny) and infrared (shaded) conditions. Results supported the laboratory experiments, and showed that when temperature differences do occur between black and white beetles, these differences are generally less than 3.5 °C. These differences are small when compared with the ranges of body temperatures experienced by active beetles in the field (± 10 °C). In addition, these temperature differences occur only at low wind speeds (< 2 m s-1). Activity studies in the field showed that beetles choose to be active in high wind speeds, possibly because of the nature of their food source, which is wind-blown detritus. It is concluded that coloration does not have adaptive value in terms of the thermal biology of Namib Desert tenebrionid beetles. Physical properties of the plumages of white Cape gannets (Morus capensis) and black Cape cormorants (Phalacrocorax capensis ) were measured. Black plumages absorb more visible radiation than white plumages in still conditions. However, laboratory experiments with excised plumages showed that at wind speeds of 2 m s-1, cormorant plumages and skins were only 2-3 °C warmer than those of gannets. These differences disappeared at wind speeds of (< 2 m s-1). A biophysical heat transfer model predicted that in still, warm, sunny conditions, cormorants may gain up to 185 of their field metabolic rates, whereas gannets would gain only 42 . Field observations confirmed that nesting cormorants experience greater heat stress than gannets, even though cormorant nests occur in areas of lower micrometeorological temperatures. Cormorants begin to dissipate heat by evaporative water loss (i.e. pant) at lower environmental temperatures than gannets. The thermal consequence of coloration in these two species are that cormorants may have a lower cost of endothermy at temperatures below the thermoneutral zone, but may experience more heat stress during warm conditions; cormorants select cooler and windier nesting sites than gannets; and increased surf ace temperatures of black cormorant plumages may aid evaporative water loss from wet plumages, facilitating wing-drying. However, ptiloerection and wind may interact in the natural environment, negating the differential heating effects of coloration. It is concluded that the thermal implications of colour are negligible in both species, considering the temperate nature of their environment; Colour in both species is best explained by feeding ecology: white coloration is conspicuous to conspecifics and cryptic to prey in plunge divers (gannets), whereas black colour is cryptic to both conspecifics and prey in solitary swimmers (cormorants). en_ZA
dc.subject.other Zoology en_ZA
dc.title The thermal implications and ecological consequences of coloration in selected species : tenebrionid beetles (Onymacris bicolor and Onymacris ungui cularis), Cape gannets (Morus capensis) and Cape cormorants (Phalacrocorax capensis) en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Biological Sciences en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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