Get access

Measurement of arthropod body composition using quantitative magnetic resonance


Author for correspondence. E-mail:


Quantitative magnetic resonance (QMR) is a new technology for measuring the body composition (wet lean mass, fat mass, and total body water mass) of unrestrained and unanesthetized animals. We conducted a validation study using two species of crayfish (mass range 5.5–27 g), American lobsters (680–732 g), and Madagascar hissing cockroaches (6.5–14 g) to assess the utility of QMR for quantifying the body composition of crustaceans and other large arthropods. A comparison of crayfish, lobster, and cockroach wet lean, fat, and body water masses calculated by QMR with those obtained from the traditional chemical extraction method demonstrates that QMR is a valid technology for analysis of wet lean mass and body water. Fat mass could not be accurately predicted, although this might be improved with the use of a QMR analyzer designed specifically for animals of low fat content. QMR analysis allows rapid (<4 min) and non-destructive determination of body composition in field and lab environments, enabling researchers to conduct longitudinal studies and to increase the ethicality and practicality of studying rare or threatened species.