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Osmotic and ionic regulation and Na+/K+-ATPase, carbonic anhydrase activities in mature Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne Edwards, 1853 (Decapoda, Brachyura) exposed to different salinities

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Mature Chinese mitten crabs, Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne Edwards, 1853, are exposed to brackish water or seawater as an obligatory part of their reproductive migration. We investigated the changes in haemolymph osmolality, haemolymph Na+, Cl−, Ca2+ and K+ concentrations, as well as gill Na+/K+-ATPase and carbonic anhydrase activity in both mature females and males, when in freshwater (0.3‰ salinity, 8 mOsm (kg H2O)−1) and after step-wise acclimation to salinities ranging from 7 to 35‰ (175-1044 mOsm (kg H2O)−1). Both females and males strongly hyper-regulated their haemolymph osmolality over a salinity range of 0.3-21‰, the isosmotic point approaching 28‰ salinity, and slightly hypo-regulated at 35‰ salinity. Haemolymph Na+ and Cl− levels correlated positively with haemolymph osmolality. Ca2+ and K+ levels, however, were maintained at a relatively narrow range and showed a contrary trend in their response to salinity. This indicated that Na+ and Cl− are the main contributors to increasing haemolymph osmolality. Reduced Na+/K+-ATPase and carbonic anhydrase activity in the posterior gills at elevated salinity suggests a direct physiological response to a decrease of Na+ intake. No sexual differences existed for all parameters except for significantly higher haemolymph Ca2+ and K+ levels and CA activity in females than in males at some salinity levels. It is suggested that mature Eriocheir sinensis is a strong hyper-osmoregulator but a weak hypo-osmoregulator. No sexual differences appeared to exist in osmotic and ionic regulation of mature Eriocheir sinensis exposed to different salinities.

Affiliations: 1: 2East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Shanghai 200090, P.R. China; 2: 3College of Fisheries and Life Sciences, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, P.R. China


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