Seasonal Patterns of Respiration, Gill Ventilation, and Hematological Characteristics in the Striped Mullet, Mugil Cephalus L.
The striped mullet, Mugil cephalus, endures pronounced diurnal and seasonal temperature changes in the shallow bay system of the Texas coast. The mullet responds to its temperature-induced changes in metabolic oxygen demand with a pattern of respiratory, ventilatory, and hematological adjustments. These variables were measured at 14.5° and 28.5°C during each season to separate seasonal from short-term responses. In van Dam-type respirometers, oxygen consumption rates remained at essentially constant levels at each temperature through the year (x = 42.84 ml O2/kg/h at 14.5°C and 141.83 ml O2/kg/h at 28.5°C). Gill ventilatory flows, frequencies and stroke volumes also remained seasonally constant at each temperature. Seasonal differences at each temperature regime were most evident in the blood characteristics of hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit. While both juvenile and adult fish display increases in response to the energy demands imposed by warmed environments, seasonal peaks of hemoglobin and hematocrit (autumn Hb = 8.24 g%, Hc = 32%) occurred as waters cooled when the adults migrated to the Gulf of Mexico for spawning. This pattern should enhance the ecological fitness of a spawning adult striped mullet by increasing its capacity for aerobic swimming performance during the migration, thereby decreasing mortality by predation.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1982
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