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Physiol Biochem Zool. 2001 Jul-Aug;74(4):520-30.

Effects of age on water balance in Drosophila species.

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Center for Insect Science and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Age-related declines in physiological performance have been documented in a wide variety of organisms. However, it is unknown whether related species age in a similar manner or whether physiological differences associated with aging differ widely among species. Previous work has shown that the desiccation resistance of Drosophila melanogaster decreases rapidly with age. Other Drosophila species may have delayed reproductive maturity or may inhabit arid habitats, so that age-related changes in water balance may be a significant physiological constraint on their ecological success. We may, therefore, predict that physiological systems involved in water balance will deteriorate with age at a reduced rate in these species. We quantified several components of water budgets for 14 species of Drosophila, including both desert and mesic representatives differing in their age of maturity. Desiccation resistance decreased with age in all but one species studied, primarily because of increased rates of water loss. However, there was no significant relationship between the rate of aging, as indicated by the rate of increase in water-loss rates as flies aged, and either habitat or age of maturity.

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