This introductory chapter explores the kinds of physiological variation one might expect in insects, including variations among and between individuals, within and among generations, and across various spatial and temporal scales. Recognizing that variation cannot be infinite owing to various constraints such as those of phylogeny, but that it is also not completely constrained, the areas of variation that have been, and might usefully still be explored to understand insect-environment interactions are discussed. Perhaps one of the most interesting modern avenues for work is macrophysiology, or investigations of large-scale variation in physiological traits and its underlying causes and subsequent implications. The remainder of the chapter sets out how integration between mechanism and pattern will be explored in each subsequent chapter.
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