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Title: Air breathing and ammonia excretion in the giant mudskipper, Periophthalmodon schlosseri
Authors: Randall, D.J.
Ip, Y.K. 
Chew, S.F.
Wilson, J.M.
Issue Date: Sep-2004
Citation: Randall, D.J., Ip, Y.K., Chew, S.F., Wilson, J.M. (2004-09). Air breathing and ammonia excretion in the giant mudskipper, Periophthalmodon schlosseri. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 77 (5) : 783-788. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The giant mudskipper, Periophthalmodon schlosseri, is an amphibious, obligate, air-breathing teleost fish. It uses its buccal cavity for air breathing and for taking and holding large gulps of air. These fish live in mud burrows at the top of the intertidal zone of mangrove mudflats; the burrow water may be hypoxic and hypercapnic and have high ammonia levels. The buccal epithelium is highly vascularized, with small diffusion distances between air and blood. The gill epithelium is densely packed with mitochondria-rich cells. Periophthalmodon schlosseri can maintain tissue ammonia levels in the face of high ammonia concentrations in the water. This is probably achieved by active ammonium ion transport across the mitochondria-rich cells via an apical Na/H+(NH4 +) exchanger and a basolateral Na/ K+(NH4 +) ATPase. When exposed to air, the animal reduces ammonia production, but there is some increase in tissue ammonia levels after 24 h. There is no detoxification by increased production of glutamine or urea, but there is partial amino acid catabolism, leading to the accumulation of alanine. CO2 production and proton excretion cause acidification of the burrow water to reduce ammonia toxicity. The skin has high levels of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids decreasing membrane fluidity and gas, and therefore ammonia, permeability. Exposure to elevated environmental ammonia further decreases membrane permeability. Acidification of the environment and having a skin with a low NH3 permeability reduces ammonia influx, so that the fish can maintain tissue ammonia levels by active ammonium ion excretion, even in water containing high levels of ammonia.
Source Title: Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
ISSN: 15222152
DOI: 10.1086/423745
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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