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Volume 45 - Number 2 - 2010
Article

 


Area of respiratory structures and their effect on acid-base balance regulation in two species of porcelain intertidal crabs, Petrolisthes laevigatus and Petrolisthes violaceus

Moisés A. Vargas1, Marcelo E. Lagos1, Daniela A. Contreras1 y Cristian W. Cáceres1

 

1Departamento de Ecología Costera, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Casilla 297,Concepción, Chile

 

E-mail: ccaceres@ucsc.cl

 

Porcelain crabs that habiting intertidal zone are continuously exposed to desiccation conditions for which they have developed specific physiological and morphological adaptations. In this study, the relationship between gill surface area and walking legs membranes, and acid-base regulation of two species of intertidal crabs (Petrolisthes) were measured and compared. Petrolisthes laevigatus inhabits on the high intertidal zone, while P. violaceus is on the lower intertidal zone. Both species have the same surface gill area, but P. laevigatus has a bigger area on their walking legs membranes in comparison to P. violaceus. The difference in membrane area may be relevant in their adaptation to air exposure. We found differences on their acid-base balance between these two species and between individuals with and without functional membranes. Petrolisthes laevigatus would have a higher level of homeostatic regulation in the emersion periods in comparison to P. violaceus


Key words: Gas windows, crustaceans, intertidal, respiration, emersion

 

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