In heterotherm insects, endothermy implies a high energy cost due to the generation and regulation of body temperature during different activities such as flight, food location, fighting and even walking. We studied the thermoregulation process and the cost of the thermoregulation strategies in two sympatric dung beetles, Sulcophanaeus batesi and S. imperator under heat and cold stress conditions. We used a set of physiological variables to exemplify the capacity of thermolimit respirometry combined with infrared thermography to derive relevant variables capable of describing different thermoregulation syndromes. Habitat use and thermal niche differed notably between S. batesi and S. imperator, reflecting their contrasted thermal requirements. In S. imperator, thermal specialization for high temperatures was observed, being active mainly during the warmer period of the day. On the other hand, thermal adaptation in S. batesi allows its preference for cold exhibiting a morning activity periods, avoiding higher temperatures. The thermophilic strategy used by Sulcophanaeus imperator minimized the energy expenditure produced during the cooling of the body by respiration without thereby endangering higher thermal limits. In this case, S. batesi, the species with a preference for the coldest environments, presented the lowest thermal limits, although the energy cost needed to stay active during cooling was significantly lower than that in S. imperator. Sulcophanaeus imperator and S. batesi showed evident 'economizing' strategies associated with hot and cold environmental conditions, respectively. In contrast, if both species experience a deviation from their thermal optimum, a decrement in their performance could be produced.
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