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By J.W.L. Beament

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Additional info for Advances in Insect Physiology, Vol. 4

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4 4 45 46 47 48 48 50 51 51 52 54 56 61 I. INTRODUCTION The occurrence of uric acid in the excreta of insects was established before the turn of the century and its presence has been confirmed subsequently by a large number of investigators (see reviews in Wigglesworth, 1950; Prosser, 1952; Roeder, 1953; Chauvin, 1956). Earlier findings were generalized in statements such as those of Needham (1935): “. . in the insect, excretion of uric acid as the main end product of nitrogen metabolism is widespread, if not universal”, and of Florkin (1945): “I1 est bien Ctabli que chez les insectes adultes, l’acide urique reprksente le terme pridominant du catabolisme protidique”.

4, 65-78. Harlow, P. A. (1958). The action of drugs on the nervous system of the locust (Locusta migratoria). Ann. appl. Biol. 46,55-73. B. (1963). The effects of acetylcholine on twitches in the locust leg. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 10, 203-208. Hill, R. B. and Usherwood, P. N. R. (1961). The action of 5-hydroxytryptamine and related compounds on neuromuscular transmission in the locust, Schistocerca gregaria. J. Physiol. 153,393-401. Hodgkin, A. L. (1938). The subthreshold potentials in a crustacean nerve fibre.

Uricotelism was seen as an adaptation to a terrestrial mode of life; the 33 34 E. B U R S E L L excretion of toxic end products, like ammonia, or of soluble end products, like urea, was seen as being militated against by the shortage of water. g. reviews by Craig, 1960; Stobbart and Shaw, 1964), subject to certain exceptions. In recent years, however, data have accumulated which suggest that nitrogenous end products other than uric acid may figure largely in the excreta of a variety of insects; the exceptions are becoming more numerous, and the validity of the earlier generalization appears to be threatened.

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