Osmotic relations of some metazoan parasites

Kesava Panikkar, N. ; Sproston, Nora G. (1941) Osmotic relations of some metazoan parasites Parasitology, 33 (02). pp. 214-223. ISSN 0031-1820

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Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031182000024410


1. The osmotic behaviour of three parasites in normal and experimental media has been studied with a view to understanding the relationship with their hosts. 2. Angusticaecum sp., a nematode frpm the intestine of the tortoise, is hypertonic in media of very low concentrations (1·1-1·3 % NaCl in tap water), but becomes isotonic in sea water and slightly hypertonic in 50 % sea water. Ligaturing experiments show that its cuticle is permeable to water and probably to salts. 3. Lernaeocera branchialis, a blood-feeding copepod from Gadus spp., is hypotonic to the surrounding sea water so long as it remains attached to its host, its blood showing an osmotic pressure equivalent to 2·O-2·8 % NaCl. Isotonicity with the medium is established when the parasite is excised and kept alive. Hypotonicity of Lernaeocera is probably caused by the low osmotic pressure of the blood of its host (1·443 % NaCl in Gadus pollachius), to which it is permanently attached. 4. Bopyrus squillarum, a blood-sucking isopod from Leander serratus, is isotonic or slightly hypotonic to sea water, the tendency towards hypotonicity being probably the result of the hypotonic nature of the blood of the host. 5. The osmotic properties of Lerpaeocera and Bopyrus would suggest their ability to survive in dilute sea water, a fact which is supported by their occurrence on hosts living in inshore or estuarine habitats.

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