Send to

Choose Destination
J Insect Physiol. 2010 Dec;56(12):2006-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.09.002. Epub 2010 Sep 29.

Rapid changes in desiccation resistance in Drosophila melanogaster are facilitated by changes in cuticular permeability.

Author information

Department of Biology, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 5B7, Canada.


Insects can improve their desiccation resistance by one or more of (1) increasing their water content; (2) decreasing water loss rate; or (3) increasing the amount of water able to be lost before death. Female Drosophila melanogaster have previously been reported to increase their resistance to desiccation after a desiccation pre-treatment and recovery, but the mechanism of this increased desiccation resistance has not been explored. We show that female, but not male adult D. melanogaster increased their resistance to desiccation after 1h of recovery from a 3 to 4.5h pre-treatment that depletes them of 10% of their water content. The pre-treatment did not result in an increase in water content after recovery, and there is a slight increase in water content at death in pre-treated females (but no change in males), suggesting that the amount of water loss tolerated is not improved. Metabolic rate, measured on individual flies with flow-through respirometry, did not change with pre-treatment. However, a desiccation pre-treatment did result in a reduction in water loss rate, and further investigation indicated that a change in cuticular water loss rate accounted for this decrease. Thus, the observed increase in desiccation resistance appears to be based on a change in cuticular permeability. However, physiological changes in response to the desiccation pre-treatment were similar in male and female, which therefore does not account for the difference in rapid desiccation hardening between the sexes. We speculate that sex differences in fuel use during desiccation may account for the discrepancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center