Geographic variation in the tolerance of both high and low temperatures has been documented in several insect groups at both the species and population levels. For example, latitudinal variation in cold hardiness has been documented between populations of Drosophila (Parsons 1977) and ants (Heinze et al. 1998), and between species of Drosophila (Goto et al. 2000) and swallowtail butterflies (Kukal et al. 1991). Likewise, geographic variation in upper lethal temperatures has been found among several Drosophila species and populations (Tantawy and Mallah 1961; Levins 1969; Goto et al. 2000). However, most of the work on geographic variation in thermal tolerance has been undertaken over relatively small spatial scales, extending mostly to the limits of a country (though see Tantawy and Mallah (1961) and Levins (1969) for early exceptions, and Hoffmann et al. 2002 for later, more detailed work). More recently, with the development of macroecology (see Chapter 1) and the realization that climate change may have profound effects on the distribution of diversity (Chapter 7), there has been a resurgence of interest in large-scale patterns in the temperature limits of animals, including insects (e.g. Gibert and Huey 2001).
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