The effect of desiccation on water management and compartmentalisation in scorpions: The hepatopancreas as a water reservoir

Eran Gefen, Amos Ar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Scorpions of the Family Buthidae have lower water loss rates (WLR) and enhanced osmoregulatory capacities in comparison with sympatric species of F. Scorpionidae. In this study we followed changes in water content of different body compartments in four scorpion species under prolonged desiccation conditions. The high initial WLR previously reported for Scorpionidae result in rapid depletion of body water stores. A significant decrease in total body water content of Scorpionidae was recorded following loss of only 5% of initial mass, whereas no such decrease was recorded for Buthidae following severe desiccation. When desiccated, scorpions lose water primarily from the hepatopancreas, while haemolymph volume is more tightly regulated. However, the haemolymph volume of Scorpionidae decreases as a result of depletion of hepatopancreas water stores following severe desiccation. The increasing lipid fraction in the hepatopancreas of Scorpionidae during desiccation suggests that depletion of body water stores may induce enhanced catabolism of carbohydrates, which may contribute to volume regulation by making initially glycogen-bound water available to the desiccating scorpion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1887-1894
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume208
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Desiccation
  • Haemolymph
  • Hepatopancreas
  • Osmoregulation
  • Scorpion
  • Water

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