The environmental effects of salinity and temperature on the oxygen consumption and total body osmolality of the marine flatworm Procerodes littoralis

R McAllen, D Walker, A Taylor

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The present study examined the effect of salinity and temperature on the rate of oxygen consumption and total body osmolality of the triclad turbellarian Procerodes littoralis, a common marine flatworm normally found in areas where freshwater streams run out over intertidal areas. Extremes in environmental factors encountered by P. littoralis were recorded at the study site. These were salinity (0-44 psu), temperature (2.7-24.9 degreesC) and oxygen concentration (2.8-16.1 mg 1(-1)). Respirometry experiments showed minimal oxygen consumption rates at the salinity extremes encountered by the study species (0 and 40 psu). Further experiments showed relatively constant oxygen consumption rates over the temperature range 5-20 C and elevated consumption rates at temperatures above 25 degreesC. Total body osmolality of P littoralis increased with increasing salinity. The study illustrates how a marine flatworm uses integrated physiological and behavioural mechanisms to successfully inhabit an environment that is predominantly freshwater for up to 75% of the tidal cycle. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Procerodes littoralis
  • turbellaria
  • oxygen consumption
  • osmolality
  • salinity

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