Comparative water relations of adult and juvenile tortoise beetles: differences among sympatric species. Academic Article uri icon


  • Relative abundance of two sympatric tortoise beetles varies between drought and 'wet' years. Differing abilities to conserve water may influence beetle survival in changing environments. Cuticular permeability (CP), percentage of total body water (%TBW), rate of water loss and percentage of body lipid content were determined for five juvenile stages and female and male adults of two sympatric species of chrysomelid beetles, the golden tortoise beetle, Charidotella bicolor (F.) and the mottled tortoise beetle, Deloyala guttata (Olivier). There were significant differences in %TBW and lipid content among juvenile stages. Second instars had the greatest difference in CP (37.98 and 11.13 microgcm(-2)h(-1)mmHg(-1) for golden and mottled tortoise beetles, respectively). Mottled tortoise beetles had lower CP and greater %TBW compared with golden tortoise beetles, suggesting that they can conserve a greater amount of water and may tolerate drier environmental conditions. This study suggests that juvenile response to environmental water stress may differentially affect the survival of early instars and thus affect the relative abundance of adult beetles in the field. This is supported by the low relative abundance of golden tortoise beetle larvae in a drought year and the higher abundance in two 'wet' years.

published proceedings

  • Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Hull-Sanders, H. M., Appel, A. G., & Eubanks, M. D.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Hull-Sanders, Helen M||Appel, Arthur G||Eubanks, Micky D

publication date

  • January 2003