Epithelial cell production and epithelial cell loss in 6 different size classes of Hydra attenuata were examined to understand the relationships between growth and morphogenesis. The sizes of adult hydra, the sizes of their buds, and their budding rates are all nearly proportional to the amount of food the hydra eat. Hydra fed at high rates (4-25 Artemia nauplii per day) all have the same epithelial cell cycle time (about 4 days). Budding accounts for most of their cell loss. Hydra fed 4–12 Artemia per day maintain a steady state condition in which tissue loss balances tissue growth. Animals fed 25 Artemia per day are not in a steady state growth condition and change in size. At the lowest feeding rates (0-1 Artemia per day), the epithelial cell cycle time is lengthened to about 16 days. Cell loss from the tentacles accounts for most of the cell loss, and this loss is not completely balanced by growth. As a consequence these animals cease budding and shrink in size.
- © 1977 by Company of Biologists