Changes in Water and Salt Content During Metamorphosis of Larval Bonefish (Albula)
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.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1984-03-01
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