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J Insect Physiol. 2004 May;50(5):419-28.

Metabolic rate variation in Glossina pallidipes (Diptera: Glossinidae): gender, ageing and repeatability.

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Spatial, Physiological and Conservation Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa.


Despite the importance of metabolic rate in determining flight time of tsetse and in mediating the influence of abiotic variables on life history parameters (and hence abundance and distribution), metabolic rate measurements and their repeatability have not been widely assessed in these flies. We investigate age-related changes in standard metabolic rate (SMR) and its repeatability, using flow-through respirometry, for a variety of feeding, gender and pregnancy classes during early adult development in laboratory-reared individuals of the tsetse fly, Glossina pallidipes. Standard metabolic rate (144-635 microW) was generally within 22% of previous estimates, though lower than the values found using closed system respirometry. There was no significant difference between the genders, but metabolic rate increased consistently with age, probably owing to flight muscle development. Repeatability of metabolic rate was generally high (r=0.6-.09), but not in younger teneral adults and pregnant females (r approximately equal to 0.05-0.4). In these individuals, low repeatability values are a consequence of muscle or in utero larval development. Tsetse and other flies generally have a much higher metabolic rate, for a given size, than do other insect species investigated to date.

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