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Hypoxia and interdemic variation in Poecilia latipinna

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Variation in respiratory traits was quantified between two populations of the sailfin molly Poecilia latipinna(one from a periodically hypoxic salt marsh, Cedar Key, and one from a chronically normoxic river site, Santa Fe River). Two suites of characters were selected: traits that may show both short‐term acclimation response and interdemic variation in acclimation response (metabolic rate, critical oxygen tension and respiratory behaviour), and those that are not likely to respond to short‐term acclimation but may vary among populations (gill morphometric characters). Sailfin mollies from the salt marsh, acclimated to hypoxia (1 mg l−1, c. 20 mmHg) for 6 weeks, spent less time conducting aquatic surface respiration and had lower gill ventilation rates than hypoxia‐acclimated conspecifics from the well‐oxygenated river site. Poecilia latipinna acclimated to hypoxia exhibited a lower critical oxygen tension (Pc) than fish acclimated to normoxia; however, there was also a significant population effect. Poecilia latipinna from Cedar Key exhibited a lower Pc than fish from the Santa Fe River, regardless of acclimation. Cedar Key fish had a 14% higher mean gill surface area relative to fish from the Santa Fe River, a character that could account, at least in part, for their greater tolerance to hypoxia.

Keywords: Poeciliidae; aquatic surface respiration; dissolved oxygen; gill surface area; metabolic rate

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, U.S.A. and

Publication date: 2004-09-01

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