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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The increase in body volume due to the uptake of water during molting is associated with more than a fivefold elevation of hemolymph hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressures begin to increase prior to exuviation (stage D4), rise to a maximum in stage E, and then quickly begin to decline (stage A,). This decrease, which precedes the termination of water uptake, may be due to the elevated rate of urine formation permitted by the large excess of hydrostatic over colloid osmotic pressure. By stage A2, hydrostatic pressures have returned to intermolt (stage C) levels. Slow pressure pulses initiated late in stage D4 provide the mechanism of separating the old from the new carapace. The heart continues to beat at a variable but clearly lower rate, compared with stage C, throughout the cycle. Although ventilatory flow decreases significantly during stage A, and at least early stage A2, it does not cease, and the period of hypoventilation is relatively brief.

Affiliations: 1: (PLD) Department of Biology, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 22030;; 2: (CPM) Department of Biology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185;; 3: (BRM) Department of Biology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada.


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