Science

Hibernating beetles break down and regrow their muscles on demand

Colorado potato beetles lose almost all the mitochondria in their muscles during hibernation, but regrow them in time to start flying in the spring



Life



25 July 2022

A Colorado potato beetle

Jose B. Ruiz/naturepl.com

Some beetles can shed most of their muscle during the winter and rebuild it by spring without moving, ready for flight, researchers have found.

The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) can survive up to four months buried beneath the snow in Canada with temperatures dropping to -20°C. During hibernation, it slows its metabolism by as much as 90 per cent to save energy, but how it does this was poorly understood.

To investigate, Jacqueline Lebenzon at Western University in London, Canada, and her colleagues mimicked …

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