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Free Content Changes in Water and Salt Content During Metamorphosis of Larval Bonefish (Albula)

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Abstract:

The changes in water and Na+, K+ and Cl content of leptocephalous larvae of the bonefish (Albula) were followed during metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is characterized by a period of pronounced shrinkage during which larvae may lose about half of their original body length in as few as 6 days. It is estimated that 8–10 days are required to complete metamorphosis at a water temperature of 21.5 ± 1.5°C and that the overall length decrease is between 60–65%. In addition to the resorption of the extracellular, gelatinous matrix, shrinkage is accompanied by a loss of approximately 382 mg of water and about 70 μEq of both Na+ and Cl. This corresponds to a 78% loss of total body water, an 83% loss of Na+ and a 91% loss of Cl. No significant change in K+ content was noted. However, when the values are converted to a per kg wet weight basis, a three-fold increase in K+ concentration is seen during shrinkage, accompanied by decreases in Na+ and Cl concentrations of 16% and 58%, respectively. It is proposed that water loss is the primary cause of shrinkage and that resorption of the gelatinous matrix provides a source of energy for tissue formation and possibly osmotic and ionic regulation.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1984-03-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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