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Respir Physiol. 1988 Mar;71(3):355-73.

Physiological adaptations of the intertidal rockpool teleost Blennius pholis L., to aerial exposure.

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Institut für Zoologie, Universität Düsseldorf, F.R.G.


Gas exchange, metabolism, ventilation, circulation and acid-base balance in water and air were investigated in Blennius pholis. The rates of gas exchange in water and air were similar with the RQ remaining around 0.8. Aerial gas exchange was equally divided between the head/gills and the tail region. Ventilatory adaptations involved a reduction in rate in air and the mode of ventilation changed from flow-through to tidal, with closed opercula. A transient bradycardia developed on transition to air before heart frequency (fH) returned to aquatic levels. During aerial exposure PvCO2 rose only by 1 Torr with a concomitant decrease in pH of 0.19 pH-units. At the same time a metabolic acidosis was observed which could not be fully accounted for by the formation of lactic acid in the blood, although tissue lactate levels did not change significantly. No histological evidence was found for the presence of carbonic anhydrase in the epithelial cells of the skin or the oesophagus to aid aerial CO2 excretion. Inhibition of CA activity by addition of methazolamide to blood, however, caused PvCO2 to rise by 3 Torr and pHv to decrease by 0.4 pH unit. It is concluded that B. pholis is physiologically well adapted to aerial exposure through adjustments in ventilation and circulation and that erythrocytic carbonic anhydrase plays a major role in CO2 transfer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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