Oxygen uptake of the foliage-dwelling larvae of Embryonopsis halticella Eaton (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae) and adults of Ectemnorhinus marioni Jeannel (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), the litter-dwelling larvae of Pringleophaga marioni (Lepidoptera: Tineidae) and the wrack-dwelling Paractora dreuxi Séguy (Diptera: Helcomyzidae) was examined over the range of temperatures experienced by these insects in their microhabitats. With the exception of the kelp fly, P. dreuxi, Q10s and activation energies were generally lower than those found in temperate and Arctic insects, but were similar to values found in beetles from sub-Antarctic South Georgia Island. Q10 and activation energy of each species reflected the temperature regime found in its microhabitat. Activation energies of the Marion Island species were intermediate between those found in temperate and polar arthropods, but towards the polar end of the range. The hypothesis that insects are capable of showing respiratory adaptation to temperature is supported.