The research, published in theNature Communications journal, found that exposing beetles to a five-day heatwave in the laboratory reduced sperm production by three-quarters; females were unaffected.
“Beetles are thought to constitute a quarter of biodiversity, so these results are very important for understanding how species react to climate change,” said Kris Sales, at the University of East Anglia, who led the work.
The research is among the first of its type on cold-blooded creatures. “There is a big gap, as most of life on Earth is cold-blooded and it is much more directly affected by temperature variations,” Gage said. “We’ve shown that sperm function is an especially sensitive trait when the environment heats up, and in [species] representing a huge amount of global biodiversity.”