Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 183, Issue 6, pp 749–761 | Cite as

Physiological and biochemical responses to cold and drought in the rock-dwelling pulmonate snail, Chondrina avenacea

  • Vladimír Koštál
  • Jan Rozsypal
  • Pavel Pech
  • Helena Zahradníčková
  • Petr Šimek
Original Paper

Abstract

The pulmonate snail Chondrina avenacea lives on exposed rock walls where it experiences drastic daily and seasonal fluctuations of abiotic conditions and food availability. We found that tolerance to dry conditions was maintained at a very high level throughout the year and was mainly based on the snails’ ability to promptly enter into estivation (quiescence) whenever they experienced drying out of their environment. Snails rapidly suppressed their metabolism and minimized their water loss using discontinuous gas exchange pattern. The metabolic suppression probably included periods of tissue hypoxia and anaerobism as indicated by accumulation of typical end products of anaerobic metabolism: lactate, alanine and succinate. Though the drought-induced metabolic suppression was sufficient to stimulate moderate increase of supercooling capacity, the seasonally highest levels of supercooling capacity and the highest tolerance to subzero temperatures were tightly linked to hibernation (diapause). Hibernating snails did not survive freezing of their body fluids and instead relied on supercooling strategy which allowed them to survive when air temperatures dropped to as low as −21 °C. No accumulation of low-molecular weight compounds (potential cryoprotectants) was detected in hibernating snails except for small amounts of the end products of anaerobic metabolism.

Keywords

Mollusca Estivation Hibernation Metabolic suppression Water loss Supercooling 

Abbreviations

r.h.

Relative humidity of the air

SCP

Supercooling point

TFM

Total fresh mass

TDM

Total dry mass

SM

Shell mass

BWM

Body water mass

BDM

Body dry mass

Lt50

Time of exposure lethal to 50 % of a population sample

DGE

Discontinuous gas exchange

PCA

Principal component analysis

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Administration of Protected Landscape Area Český kras for permitting us to sample snails in the study site of Solvayovy lomy. Lucie Juřičková (Charles University, Department of Zoology, Prague) recommended to us the locality with dense population of the snails. Roman Hrdlička, Jaroslav Šoun and Hana Pechová helped during field sampling. We thank Irena Vacková, Anna Heydová and Jana Cimlová (all from the Biology Centre, ASCR, České Budějovice) for their assistance with snail sample processing, extractions, derivatizations and LC/MS analysis, respectively. This study was supported by Czech Science Foundation grant 206/07/0269 (to VK), Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic grant NT-11/513-5 (to PŠ), and University of South Bohemia grant GAJU 04-062/2011/P (to JR).

Supplementary material

360_2013_749_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1919 kb)
360_2013_749_MOESM2_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 29 kb)
360_2013_749_MOESM3_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 19 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vladimír Koštál
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Rozsypal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pavel Pech
    • 3
  • Helena Zahradníčková
    • 1
  • Petr Šimek
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of EntomologyBiology Centre of the Academy of SciencesČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  3. 3.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Hradec KrálovéHradec KrálovéCzech Republic

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