Meeting Abstract

P2.89  Thursday, Jan. 5  Water balance and the use of a unique internal water reservoir in viper boas (Candoia aspera) MANRIQUE, A.; SECOR, S.*; DENARDO, D.F.; Arizona State Univeristy; Univeristy of Alabama; Arizona State Univeristy denardo@asu.edu

Water is vital to the survival of organisms and survival is based on the balancing of water intake and expenditure. While less common than energy storage, water storage is used by some vertebrates to mitigate short-term (e.g., seasonal) water balance deficiencies. Various organs have been documented to serve, at least in part, as water reservoirs for an organism and include the urinary bladder and distal intestinal tract. We investigated water balance in the viper boa, Candoia aspera, and conducted preliminary assessments of the potential use of the ureters as water reservoirs. We demonstrate that viper boas have high evaporative water loss rates (both total and on a per square millimeter basis) compared to other closely related snakes, and, as with other species, these water loss rates are sensitive to both temperature and humidity. As a result, water-restricted viper boas can dehydrate (as determined by changes in plasma osmolality) in as little as 72 hrs. Additionally, we provide gross and histological evidence for the use of the ureters as water storage organs to apparently cope with the high water loss rates seen in viper boas.