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J Insect Physiol. 2006 May;52(5):442-9. Epub 2006 Feb 8.

Gas exchange characteristics, metabolic rate and water loss of the Heelwalker, Karoophasma biedouwensis (Mantophasmatodea: Austrophasmatidae).

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DST-NRF Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa.


This study presents the first physiological information for a member of the wingless Mantophasmatodea, or Heelwalkers. This species shows cyclic gas exchange with no evidence of a Flutter period (more typical of discontinuous gas exchange in insects) and no indication that the spiracles are fully occluded during quiescent metabolism. Standard metabolic rate at 20 degrees C was 21.32+/-2.73 microl CO(2)h(-1) (mean+/-S.E.), with a Q(10) (10-25 degrees C) of 1.7. Increases in V()CO(2) associated with variation in mass and with trial temperature were modulated by an increase in burst period volume and a decline in cycle frequency. Total water loss rate, determined by infrared gas analysis, was 0.876+/-0.08 mg H(2)Oh(-1) (range 0.602-1.577, n=11) whilst cuticular water loss rate, estimated by linear regression of total water loss rate and metabolic rate, was 0.618+/-0.09 mg H(2)Oh(-1) (range 0.341-1.363, n=11). Respiratory water loss rate was therefore no more than 29% of the total rate of water loss. Both total water loss rate and estimated cuticular water loss rate were significantly repeatable, with intraclass correlation coefficients of 0.745 and 0.553, respectively.

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