Marine Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 153–177

Effect of salinity fluctuation on the osmotic pressure and Na+, Ca2+ and Mg2+ ion concentrations in the hemolymph of bivalve molluscs

  • S. E. Shumway

DOI: 10.1007/BF00394023

Cite this article as:
Shumway, S.E. Mar. Biol. (1977) 41: 153. doi:10.1007/BF00394023


Specimens of Chlamys opercularis, Modiolus modiolus, Mytilus edulis, Crassostrea gigas, Scrobicularia plana and Mya arenaria were exposed to both gradual (sinusoidal) and abrupt (square-wave) salinity fluctuations and measurements made of osmotic, Na+, Mg2+ and Ca2+ concentrations in the hemolymph and where applicable in the mantle fluid. In both sinusoidal and square-wave regimes fluctuating between 100 and 50% seawater (100%=ca. 32‰ S), the hemolymph Na+, Mg2+, Ca2+ and osmotic concentrations followed the concentrations of the external medium in Chlamys opercularis. The hemolymph and mantle fluid osmotic Na+, Mg2+ and Ca2+ concentrations of Modiolus modiolus, Mytilus edulis, Crassostrea gigas and S. plana followed those of the external medium as long as the molluscs' shell valves remained open. There were no changes in the ionic or osmotic concentrations of the hemolymph or mantle fluid of any of these species during periods of shell-valve closure. The hemolymph osmotic, Na+ and Mg2+ concentrations of wedged-open Modiolus modiolus, Mytilus edulis, C. gigas and S. plana followed those of the external medium. Hemolymph Ca2+ concentrations showed a damped response in C. gigas and Mytilus edulis. The hemolymph osmotic, Na+, Ca2+ and Mg2+ concentrations of Mya arenaria fluctuated in a similar manner to the external medium, but were damped. Wedged-open Mytilus edulis exposed to fluctuating salinity and supplied with a constant supply of 10 mM Ca2+ showed greater changes in hemolymph ionic and osmotic concentrations than M. edulis exposed to the same salinity fluctuation without a constant Ca2+ supply. Chlamys opercularis and Modiolus modiolus survived in a 50% seawater minimum sinusoidal salinity fluctuation for 10 days; wedged-open M. modiolus survived only 3 days. Burrowing had no effect on the osmotic, Na+, Mg2+ or Ca2+ concentrations of the hemolymph of Mya arenaria or S. plana exposed to fluctuating salinities. All of the species studied were shown to be osmoconformers.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. E. Shumway
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Science LaboratoriesN.E.R.C. Unit of Marine Invertebrate BiologyMenai BridgeUK