Mechanisms of Systemic Osmoregulation in Insects

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Water is essential to life. Terrestrial insects lose water by evaporation from the body surface and respiratory surfaces, as well as in the excretory products, posing a challenge made more acute by their high surface-to-volume ratio. These losses must be kept to a minimum and be offset by water gained from other sources. By contrast, insects such as the blood-sucking bug Rhodnius prolixus consume up to 10 times their body weight in a single blood meal, necessitating rapid expulsion of excess water and ions. How do insects manage their ion and water budgets? A century of study has revealed a great deal about the organ systems that insects use to maintain their ion and water balance and their regulation. Traditionally, a taxonomically wide range of species were studied, whereas more recent research has focused on model organisms to leverage the power of the molecular genetic approach. Key advances in new technologies have become available for a wider range of species in the past decade. We document how these approaches have already begun to inform our understanding of the diversity and conservation of insect systemic osmoregulation. We advocate that these technologies be combined with traditional approaches to study a broader range of nonmodel species to gain a comprehensive overview of the mechanism underpinning systemic osmoregulation in the most species-rich group of animals on earth, the insects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnual Review of Entomology
Pages (from-to)415-438
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2024

    Research areas

  • hindgut, insect, ion transport, Malpighian tubule, neuropeptides, osmoregulation

ID: 381717469