Behavioral Changes Accompanying Aging In S Ratti

Fecundity

The daily per capita fecundity of free-living S. ratti females fell rapidly with age, as in C. elegans, but more rapidly, halving between the first and second days of adult life (Figure 20.3C). The resultant maximum lifetime fecundity was less than 40 progeny per female, compared to over 1,400 in C. elegans (Hodgkin and Barnes, 1991). By contrast, the daily per capita fecundity of the parasitic adult morph was > 50 for c. 250 days before it declined, giving a lifetime fecundity of ~16,000 (Gardner, Gems and Viney, submitted; Figure 20.3C).

Pharyngeal pumping rate and movement In C. elegans, the rate of pharyngeal pumping (reflecting the rate of ingestion of food) declines gradually with age (Kenyon et al., 1993). We observed a similar age-related decline in pharyngeal pumping rate in S. ratti. We also saw a similar age-related decline in movement in S. ratti, as in C. elegans (Herndon et al., 2002). In each case the pattern of age-related change in S. ratti was similar, but more rapid than that in C. elegans.

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