Arthropods Use “Natural Anti-Freeze” to Survive Cold

Dr Melody Clark of the British Antarctic Survey recently presented two bizarre adaptations that arthropods use to stave off cold temperatures. At the Society for Experimental Biology’s Annual Meeting in Glasgow last week, Clark showed how the Onychiurus arcticus, an Artic arthropod, copes with the freezing winters. As the surrounding temperatures fall, the Onychiurus arcitus literally dries up, leaving what Clark describes as “a normal looking head, and a body which looks like a crumpled up crisp packet when it is fully dehydrated. But add a drop of water and it all goes back to normal!”

Onychiurus arcticus…Just add water!

She also presented the Cryptopygus antarcticus, another Arctic arthropod which accumulates anti-freeze compounds in its body that allow it to withstand temperatures as low as minus 30-()()C (minus 22-()()F).

The Falkland Islands’ beloved Cryptopygus antarcticus. So beloved, in fact, they put it on a stamp!

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