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Freshwater Crayfish 9(1): 174-182 (1993)


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Respiratory adaptations in burrowing crayfish

McMahon BR and Hankinson JJ  e-mail link

Published Online: 6/1/2020


Haemocyanin oxygen affinity, respiratory gas exchange and haemolymph 02 levels were measured in three burrowing crayfish; Cambarus diogenes diogenes, Cambarus fodiens, and Procambarus clarkii, a temporary burrower and compared with those of an essentially fluviatile species Orconectes obscurus. Burrowing crayfish were acclimated to a transparent artificial burrow which allowed video analysis of burrowing behaviour. Although water was present at the base of the burrow all three burrowers spent a substantial proportion of their time in air. Haemocyanln oxygen affinity of O. obscurus measured in vitro (P50=7.6 torr at 15C, pH 7.85) was similar to literature values for other non-burrowing crayfish: that of burrowing species was substantially higher (P50=3.2-3.8 torr at 15C, pH 7.85). The Bohr shift was moderate in each case ( = -0.497 Oo,-0.497 cdd,-0.475 cf,-0.348 pc). In resting immersed crayfish circulating haemolymph (blood) O2 partial pressures were relatively low in all cases but were substantially lower in the three burrowing species. Circulating O2 levels increased following 24h emersion into air but remained low compared to those reported for marine crustaceans. Haemolymph pH decreased substantially on emersion and the resulting Bohr shift maintained O2 delivery to tissues. The haemocyanin of burrowing crayfishes seems well adapted to pick up O2 from depleted burrow water. These crayfish are also well able to saturate the O2 carrier and deliver O2 to tissues alter 24h air exposure.

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McMahon BR and Hankinson JJ. (1993). Respiratory adaptations in burrowing crayfish. Freshwater Crayfish 9(1):174-182. doi: 10.5869/fc.1993.v9.174



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   Published Online: 6/1/2020

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