How Canadian beetles survive winter

The antifreeze protein (blue) of fire-coloured beetle larva changes the dynamics of water on the ice-binding surface with threonine side chains (green); © Konrad Meister

From Biology News Net:

Dance of water molecules turns fire-colored beetles into antifreeze artists

January 2, 2013 02:35 PM

Certain plants and animals protect themselves against temperatures below freezing with antifreeze proteins.

How the larva of the beetle Dendroides canadensis manages to withstand temperatures down to -30 degrees Celsius is reported by an international team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Martina Havenith from the Department of Physical Chemistry II at the Ruhr-Universität in the journal PNAS.

Together with American colleagues, the RUB-researchers showed that interactions between the antifreeze proteins and water molecules contribute significantly to protection against the cold. Previously, it was assumed that the effect was only achieved through direct contact of the protein with ice crystals. The team obtained the results through a combination of terahertz spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations.

6 thoughts on “How Canadian beetles survive winter

  1. British Columbia forests have been devastated by the “pine beetle” . One beetle we wish would succumb to cold winters. Driving along the highway your first thought is forest fire, then you realize the mile after mile of dead trees is pine beetle.


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