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Grand Teton National Park Report

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Fatty acids (Fas), the most important energy resources in insects, may change in structure and thus function with changing temperature, a hypothesis termed ‘homeoviscous adaptation’. We investigated whether the proportional composition of the most common fatty acids changes with seasonal (June to August) and altitudinal (2060 – 3290 m) variation in environmental temperature among four species of native bees. We identified the composition and proportion of each fatty acid using gas chromatography coupled with a flame ionization detector (GC-FID). Based on preliminary data, the most common fatty acids found in bees were palmitic acid (C 16:0), stearic acid (C 18:0), oleic acid (C 18:1), linoleic acid (C 18:2) and linolenic acid (C 18:3), with other fatty acids including myristic acid (C 14:0) and palmitoleic acid (C 16:1) also present in small amounts. We are currently 23eticulat GC data for larger bees and establishing protocols for fatty acid composition analysis of small tissue samples. Based on the seasonal and altitudinal variation in ambient temperature, we expect to see variation in fatty acid proportions in bees from different months at both sites.