Study reveals genetic details behind springtails’ winter survival
Instead of chopping firewood and pulling out the mittens to prepare for chilly winter days, the Arctic springtail hunkers down and dries itself out. A study published online July 21 in BMC Genomics identifies some of the genes that allow for the millimeters-long arthropod’s extreme wintering stunt.
When temperatures drop below freezing, Arctic springtails (Megaphorura arctica) lose a massive amount of water and shrivel into little husks. In this way — a method called cryoprotective dehydration — the critters ride out harsh winter