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J Insect Physiol. 2000 Jun 1;46(6):837-852.

Dehydration in dormant insects.

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Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods), Canadian Museum of Nature, P.O. Box 3443, Station "D", Ottawa, Canada


Many of the mechanisms used by active insects to maintain water balance are not available to dormant individuals. Physiological and biochemical mechanisms of dehydration tolerance and resistance in dormant insects and some other invertebrates are reviewed, as well as linkages of dehydration with energy use and metabolism, with cold hardiness, and with diapause. Many dormant insects combine several striking adaptations to maintain water balance that-in addition to habitat choice-may include especially reduction of body water content, decreased cuticular permeability, absorption of water vapour, and tolerance of low body water levels. Many such features require energy and hence that metabolism, albeit much reduced, continues during dormancy. Four types of progressively dehydrated states are recognized: water is managed internally by solute or ion transport; relatively high concentrations of solutes modify the behaviour of water in solutions; still higher concentrations of certain carbohydrates lead to plasticized rubbers or glasses with very slow molecular kinetics; and anhydrobiosis eliminates metabolism.

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