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J Insect Physiol. 2004 Feb-Mar;50(2-3):149-56.

Metabolic rate and jump performance in seven species of desert fleas.

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Ramon Science Center and Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 194, 80600 Mizpe Ramon, Israel.


We hypothesized that sexual and interspecific differences in jumping performance of fleas found in our previous study are correlated with differences in resting metabolic rate (RMR) between sexes and among species. To test this hypothesis, we measured RMR of seven flea species (Xenopsylla conformis mycerini, Xenopsylla ramesis, Xenopsylla dipodilli, Parapulex chephrenis, Synosternus cleopatrae pyramidis, Nosopsyllus iranus theodori and Stenoponia tripectinata medialis). We compared RMR between sexes and among species and examined whether there is intra- and interspecific correlation between RMR and jumping ability. Both mass-specific and mass-independent RMR were the highest in female S. t. medialis, whereas mass-specific RMR was the lowest in male X. dipodilli and mass-independent RMR was the lowest in three Xenopsylla species and P. chephrenis. Mass-specific and mass-independent RMR were significantly higher in females than in males in all fleas except S. t. medialis. Differences in jumping ability between males and females were found to be correlated with sexual differences in mass-specific or mass-independent RMR. Interspecific comparison showed that the length of jump in both male and female fleas was strongly affected by their mass-specific and mass-independent RMR.

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