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The Energetics of Growth in Drosophila Melanogaster: Effect of Temperature and Food Conditions

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

The relation between oxygen consumption rate and larval growth rate in Drosophila melanogaster at different temperatures and food levels was analyzed to investigate whether different larval growth rates and adult body sizes are the consequences of different costs of growth. Four isofemale lines from two populations collected from France and Tanzania were compared. The rate of oxygen consumption per mg body weight increased with the relative rate of growth. Costs of growth (Cg), i.e., the increase in oxygen consumption due to growth, took 17.4% of the total energy invested in growth. No significant effect on Cg could be shown of either temperature or food level. Basal metabolic rate (Rb), i.e., the rate of oxygen consumption in the absence of growth, increased with temperature and food level at the intermediate temperature. The two French lines showed a higher rate of growth, independent of the environmental conditions, leading to a larger final body size. The two Tanzanian lines show a reduced Cg as compared to the French lines at 27.5°C, while showing no such difference at 17.5°C and 22.5°C. Yet, these differences in Cg do not lead to clear differences in growth efficiency between populations, indicating that differences in absorption rate are the main cause of both environmental and genetic differences in growth rate.


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Affiliations: 1: (Population Genetics, Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, NL-3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands


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