Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 2, pp 155–170 | Cite as

The effect of a decrease in salinity on respiration, Osmoregulation and activity in the shore crab,Carcinus maenas (L.) at different acclimation temperatures

  • E. W. Taylor
  • P. J. Butler
  • A. Al-Wassia


  1. 1.

    The rates of oxygen consumption (\(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_2 } \)) of individual crabs varied with their live mass. Mean\(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_2 } \) increased with acclimation temperature in 100% seawater (Q10 2.36) but not in 50% seawater.

  2. 2.

    Exposure to 50% seawater caused a significant increase in\(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_2 } \) to twice the rate in 100% seawater at 10°C. There was no significant increase in\(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_2 } \) on dilution at 18°C (Fig. 5).

  3. 3.

    Heart rate, ventilation volume (\(\dot V\)) and a-VO2 content difference were unaffected by dilution. The rise in\(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_2 } \), following dilution at 10°C may, as far as the cardiovascular system is concerned, arise from an increase in cardiac stroke volume.

  4. 4.

    Crabs were isosmotic with 100% seawater at 10°C, 14°C and 18°C. In 50% seawater all crabs showed a significant reduction in blood osmolarity, though they maintained the ΔF.p. and Na+ concentration significantly above that of the medium. Crabs acclimated to 10°C maintained a significantly higher blood ΔF.p. and Na+ concentration in 50% seawater than crabs at 18°C (Fig. 6).

  5. 5.

    Crabs acclimated to 10°C were significantly more active after exposure to 50% seawater. There was no significant change in activity, following dilution, in crabs at 18°C (Fig. 7).

  6. 6.

    The variations in\(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_2 } \) with temperature and salinity seem to relate to the measured changes in patterns of osmoregulation and activity. At 10°CCarcinus osmoregulates more effectively than at 18°C and is hyperactive in low salinities, which may represent an avoidance reaction. At 18°C, the summer temperature, the crab tolerates internal dilution and is relatively quiescent.



Oxygen Heart Rate Respiration Oxygen Consumption Human Physiology 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. W. Taylor
    • 1
  • P. J. Butler
    • 1
  • A. Al-Wassia
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and Comparative PhysiologyUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamU.K.

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