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Insect Physiological EcologyMechanisms and Patterns$
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Steven L. Chown and Sue Nicolson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198515494

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198515494.001.0001

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Water balance physiology

Water balance physiology

(p.87) CHAPTER 4 Water balance physiology
Insect Physiological Ecology

Steven L. Chown

Sue W. Nicolson

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the mechanisms involved in water gain and loss, and osmoregulation of individual insects, as well as the expansion of this aspect of insect physiology to new levels. Cuticular and respiratory water loss are covered in detail as is the controversial issue of the role of discontinuous gas exchange in the water economy of insects. At the cellular level, the transporters of Malpighian tubules and the peptide hormones controlling them are currently an active topic of research and are reviewed in detail. At the population level, desiccation resistance is being studied in a variety of insects in both hot and cold environments, and in laboratory populations of Drosophila which have undergone selection for increased desiccation resistance. Water balance physiology is one area where the links between mechanism and pattern are being made from the level of laboratory selection to large-scale comparative studies at continental scales. This level of integration, especially for Drosophila, is fast becoming a benchmark for studies on other organisms.

Keywords:   cuticular permeability, dormancy, Drosophila, haemolymph, hormonal control, osmotic regulation, respiratory water loss

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