Comparative Physiology of Fasting, Starvation, and Food Limitation

  title={Comparative Physiology of Fasting, Starvation, and Food Limitation},
  author={Marshall D. McCue},
  booktitle={Springer Berlin Heidelberg},
  • M. McCue
  • Published in Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2012
  • Biology
Marshall D. McCue: An introduction.- Jean-Herve Lignot, Yvon LeMaho: A history of modern research into fasting, starvation, and inanition.- Kevin L. Kirk: Starvation in rotifers: physiology in an ecological context.- Allen G. Gibbs, Lauren A. Reynolds: Drosophila as a model for starvation.- Johannes Overgaard, Tobias Wang: Metabolic transitions during feast and famine in spiders.- Nadav Bar, Helene Volkoff: Adaption of the physiological, endocrine and the digestive system functions to prolonged… 

Body size-mediated starvation resistance in an insect predator.

The DEB model provides a mechanistic explanation for the positive relationship between body size and starvation resistance, and offers testable hypotheses for possible deviations from this general trend.

Insights from stable isotopic tracers on reproductive allocation under stress.

The results for carbon suggest shifts in allocation of incoming and stored carbon in response to various environmental stresses and hypotheses to be tested concerning nitrogen metabolism under environmental stress.

The oxidative debt of fasting: evidence for short- to medium-term costs of advanced fasting in adult king penguins

It is suggested that fasting induces a transitory exposure to oxidative stress and that effort to recover in body mass after an advanced fasting period may be a neglected carryover cost of fasting in king penguins.

Previous Repeated Exposure to Food Limitation Enables Rats to Spare Lipid Stores during Prolonged Starvation

The relationship between previous exposure to food limitation and potentially adaptive physiological responses to starvation in adult rats and found several significant differences underscore the need for biologists to revisit the classic hypothesis that animals can become habituated to starvation, using a modern set of research tools.

Age, sex, adult and larval diet shape starvation resistance in the Mediterranean fruit fly: an ecological and gerontological perspective

It is found that SR declines with age, and that age-specific patterns are shaped in relation to adult and larval diet, followed by gender and the larval diet.

Physiological and hormonal changes during prolonged starvation in fish

This study shows that similar to mammals and birds, many fish species undergo three phases during starvation: (I) a short transient phase, (II) a long, protein conservation steady state phase with mainly fat oxidation as the primary energy source, and (III) a shift to protein mobilization as a main energy source.

Nutritional stress by means of high C:N ratios in the diet and starvation affects nitrogen isotope ratios and trophic fractionation of omnivorous copepods

Seasonal field samplings in Patagonian lakes and an extreme form of nutritional stress investigation found that ∆15N values of omnivorous species consuming a low-quality diet would be higher than that from a conspecific with a high- quality diet; though fasting animals would show intermediate values.

The effect of short-term fasting on the oxidative status of larvae of crested newt species and their hybrids.




Physiological Responses to Fasting in Bats

This chapter document the diversity of physiological traits behind the ability of bats to undergo long periods of fasting, and it is associated with their respective diets.

Behavioural, physiological and metabolic responses to long-term starvation and refeeding in a blind cave-dwelling (Proteus anguinus) and a surface-dwelling (Euproctus asper) salamander.

The results are interpreted as adaptations to a subterranean existence in which poor and discontinuous food supplies and/or intermittent hypoxia may occur for long periods and Proteus anguinus appears to be a good example of a low-energy-system vertebrate.

Energy Metabolism of Dormant Australian Water-Holding Frogs (Cyclorana platycephalus)

The relationships between metabolic rate, body size and oxygen exchange capacity, and gas exchange and metabolism in the Sirenidae (Amphibia: Caudata)-I and sirenid salamanders are investigated.

Fasting Physiology of the Pinnipeds: The Challenges of Fasting While Maintaining High Energy Expenditure and Nutrient Delivery for Lactation

Research into the hormonal regulation of fuel use and intracellular signaling pathways indicate adjustments to the typical mammalian regulation of gluconeogenesis in the pinnipeds compared to domestic and wild terrestrial mammals.

The comparative physiology of food deprivation: from feast to famine.

In most animals, the gastrointestinal tract undergoes marked atrophy when digestive processes are curtailed; this structural response and others seem particularly pronounced in species that normally feed at intermittent intervals; such animals must be able to restore digestive functions soon after feeding, and these transitions appear to occur at low metabolic costs.

Winter Starvation in Captive Common Barn-Owls: Physiological States and Reversible Limits

It can be estimated that the rise in nitrogen loss precedes death by less than 2.5 days, based on data for wild Common Barn-Owls that presumably died from starvation, and when compared to the prefasting level, mean daily energy expenditure per unit body mass was not significantly reduced.

Adaptive regulation of digestive performance in the genus Python

  • B. OttS. Secor
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of Experimental Biology
  • 2007
The integrative response of intestinal functional upregulation and tissue hypertrophy enables each of these five python species, regardless of body shape, to modulate intestinal performance to meet the demands of their large infrequent meals.


Progress in understanding fasting and starvation physiology will be most rapid through the use of integrative and comparative approaches, which will require synthesis of the existing encyclopedic body of facts and data into a robust conceptual framework from which new ideas and theories will extend.

Selection of physiological and metabolic adaptations to food deprivation in the Pyrenean newt Calotriton asper during cave colonisation.

Ontogeny of metabolism, thermoregulation and torpor in the house martin Delichon u. urbica (L.) and its ecological significance

House martins are the first passerine birds in which torpor has been found, and these adaptations might have played a role in the great success of the house martin, one of the 10–15 most abundant bird species in Europe.