Indexed on: 22 Oct '09Published on: 22 Oct '09Published in: Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology
Decapod crustaceans occupy various aquatic habitats. In freshwater they are osmoregulators, while marine species are typically osmoconformers. Freshwater crustaceans are derived from marine ancestors. The hypothesis tested here was that osmoregulators, which can rely on salt transport by interface epithelia to prevent extracellular disturbance, would have a lower capacity of tissue water regulation when compared with osmoconformers. Four species of decapod crustaceans (the marine osmoconformer crab Hepatus pudibundus, and three osmoregulators of different habitats) have been exposed in vivo to a salinity challenge, for up to 24 hr. Osmoregulators were: the estuarine shrimp Palaemon pandaliformis, the diadromous freshwater shrimp Macrobrachium acanthurus, and the hololimnetic red crab Dilocarcinus pagei. H. pudibundus displayed hemolymph dilution already after 0.5 hr in 25 per thousand, reaching approximately 30% reduction in osmolality, but its muscle degree of hydration did not increase. To make the different in vivo salinity challenges directly comparable, the ratio between the maximum change in muscle hydration with respect to the control value measured for the species and the maximum change in hemolymph osmolality was calculated (x 1,000): H. pudibundus (25 per thousand, 8.1% kg H(2)O/mOsm x 10(3))>P. pandaliformis (2 per thousand, 9.2)>M. acanthurus (30 per thousand, 12.6)>P. pandaliformis (35 per thousand, 16.7)>D. pagei (7 per thousand, 60.4). Muscle slices submitted in vitro to a 30% osmotic challenge confirmed in vivo results. Thus, the estuarine/freshwater osmoregulators displayed a lower capacity to hold muscle tissue water than the marine osmoconformer, despite undergoing narrower variations in hemolymph osmolality.