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Arthropod Struct Dev. 2002 Dec;31(3):217-30.

Respiratory organs in wolf spiders: morphometric analysis of lungs and tracheae in Pardosa lugubris (L.) (Arachnida, Araneae, Lycosidae).

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  • 1Institut für Zoologie, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Poppelsdorfer Schloss, 53115 Bonn, Germany.


The respiratory system of the wolf spider Pardosa lugubris consists of a pair of well-developed lungs and four unbranched tube tracheae. We used stereological morphometric methods to investigate the morphological diffusing capacity of the lungs and of the walls of the tracheae ('lateral diffusing capacity'). We examined three groups of female P. lugubris with different mean body masses. The barrier thickness of the gas-exchange epithelium of the lungs was 0.17 microm for the total diffusion barrier and the calculated oxygen diffusing capacity (D(O2)) for the lungs was between 12.9 and 13.4 microl min(-1)g(-1)kPa(-1). Measured metabolic rates compared with the D(O2) of the lungs result in necessary oxygen partial pressure differences of 0.2 kPa during rest and 2.1 kPa during maximum measured activity. The diffusion barrier of the entire tracheal walls was 0.31-0.50 microm and the calculated lateral D(O2) was 0.05-0.2 microl min(-1)g(-1)kPa(-1). Therefore, tracheae are of no importance for the overall oxygen exchange. However, they might be of some importance in local oxygen supply or in overall carbon dioxide release. The comparison with the respiratory system of the jumping spider Salticus scenicus reveals that the lungs have very similar mass-specific D(O2) in both species, and that, in addition, jumping spiders possess a much better developed tracheal system.

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