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J Insect Physiol. 2003 Mar;49(3):261-70.

Effects of starvation and desiccation on energy metabolism in desert and mesic Drosophila.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 1041 E. Lowell St., Tucson, AZ 85721,USA.


Energy availability can limit the ability of organisms to survive under stressful conditions. In Drosophila, laboratory experiments have revealed that energy storage patterns differ between populations selected for desiccation and starvation. This suggests that flies may use different sources of energy when exposed to these stresses, but the actual substrates used have not been examined. We measured lipid, carbohydrate, and protein content in 16 Drosophila species from arid and mesic habitats. In five species, we measured the rate at which each substrate was metabolized under starvation or desiccation stress. Rates of lipid and protein metabolism were similar during starvation and desiccation, but carbohydrate metabolism was several-fold higher during desiccation. Thus, total energy consumption was lower in starved flies than desiccated ones. Cactophilic Drosophila did not have greater initial amounts of reserves than mesic species, but may have lower metabolic rates that contribute to stress resistance.

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