Cockroaches breathe discontinuously to reduce respiratory water loss

Schimpf, NG, Matthews, PGD, Wilson, RS and White, CR (2009) Cockroaches breathe discontinuously to reduce respiratory water loss. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, 212 17: 2773-2780. doi:10.1242/jeb.031310

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Author Schimpf, NG
Matthews, PGD
Wilson, RS
White, CR
Title Cockroaches breathe discontinuously to reduce respiratory water loss
Journal name JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
Publication date 2009-09
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.031310
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 212
Issue 17
Start page 2773
End page 2780
Total pages 8
Editor Dow, J.
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher The Company of Biologists
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
060806 Animal Physiological Ecology
Formatted abstract
The reasons why many insects breathe discontinuously at rest are poorly understood and hotly debated. Three adaptive
hypotheses attempt to explain the significance of these discontinuous gas exchange cycles (DGCs), whether it be to save water,
to facilitate gas exchange in underground environments or to limit oxidative damage. Comparative studies favour the water saving
hypothesis and mechanistic studies are equivocal but no study has examined the acclimation responses of adult insects
chronically exposed to a range of respiratory environments. The present research is the first manipulative study of such chronic
exposure to take a strong-inference approach to evaluating the competing hypotheses according to the explicit predictions
stemming from them. Adult cockroaches (Nauphoeta cinerea) were chronically exposed to various treatments of different
respiratory gas compositions (O2, CO2 and humidity) and the DGC responses were interpreted in light of the a priori predictions
stemming from the competing hypotheses. Rates of mass loss during respirometry were also measured for animals acclimated to
a range of humidity conditions. The results refute the hypotheses of oxidative damage and underground gas exchange, and
provide evidence supporting the hypothesis that DGCs serve to reduce respiratory water loss: cockroaches exposed to low
humidity conditions exchange respiratory gases for shorter durations during each DGC and showed lower rates of body mass
loss during respirometry than cockroaches exposed to high humidity conditions.
Keyword DGC
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 35 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 07:42:09 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of School of Biological Sciences