The physiological properties and function of ventilatory pauses in the crabCancer pagurus

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  1. 1.

    The function of ventilatory pauses in the crab,Cancer pagurus, was investigated by analyzing pre- and postbranchial hemolymph, sampled via chronic indwelling catheters before, during and after pauses.

  2. 2.

    Evidence is presented that aerobic metabolism declines when ventilation ceases and that hemolymph O2 stores are nearly depleted during a typical pause.

  3. 3.

    At 10° C and 34‰ salinity, hemocyanin has a low O2 affinity (P 50=9 Torr at pH 7.96) and a large, normal Bohr shift (ΔlogP 50/ΔpH=−0.95). The cooperativity between O2 binding sites is high (n 50=3.5).

  4. 4.

    It is suggested that pausing behavior serves to optimize the expenditure of energy during periods of non-activity by calling on O2 stores built up during ventilating periods.Cancer pagurus accomplishes this by nearly completely saturating its low O2 carrying capacity hemolymph with O2. Having a large hemolymph volume and highP O 2 in the venous hemolymph pool are obvious advantages.

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Burnett, L.E., Bridges, C.R. The physiological properties and function of ventilatory pauses in the crabCancer pagurus . J Comp Physiol B 145, 81–88 (1981).

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