A moderate change in ambient temperature can lead to vital physiological and biochemical adjustments in ectotherms, one of which is a change in fatty acid composition. When temperature decreases, the composition of membrane lipids (phospholipid fatty acids) is expected to become more unsaturated to be able to maintain homeoviscosity. Although different in function, storage lipids (triacylglycerol fatty acids) are expected to respond to temperature changes in a similar way. Age-specific differences, however, could influence this temperature response between different life stages. Here, we investigate if fatty acid composition of membrane and storage lipids responds similarly to temperature changes for two different life stages of Orchesella cincta. Juveniles and adults were cold acclimated (15 °C ¿ 5 °C) for 28 days and then re-acclimated (5 °C ¿ 15 °C) for another 28 days. We found adult membranes had a more unsaturated fatty acid composition than juveniles. Membrane lipids became more unsaturated during cold acclimation, and a reversed response occurred during warm acclimation. Membrane lipids, however, showed no warm acclimation, possibly due to the moderate temperature change. The ability to adjust storage lipid composition to moderate changes in ambient temperature may be an underestimated fitness component of temperature adaptation because fluidity of storage lipids permits accessibility of enzymes to energy reserves.
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