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Short and long-term strategies to facilitate aerial exposure in a galaxiid

Authors

  • K. Magellan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University, P. O. Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
    2. South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
    • Author to whom correspondence should be addressed at present address: Institut d'Ecologia Aquàtica, Universitat de Girona, E-17071 Girona, Catalunya, Spain. Tel.: +34 666 78 53 81; email: kit8x@hotmail.com

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  • S. Pinchuck,

    1. Electron Microscopy Unit, P. O. Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
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  • E. R. Swartz

    1. South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
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Abstract

This study investigated two potential strategies to survive short and longer-term aerial exposure in a galaxiid. This scaleless fish possesses cutaneous pores that dilated in the short-term (15 min–3 h) but contracted over longer periods (15 h) out of water, suggesting that these organs are used to cope with shorter durations of air exposure. Pores on the abdominal surface showed the greatest variation while those on the operculum surface hardly changed. Conversely, thickening of the epithelial layer of secondary gill lamellae showed a slower increase but persisted in an approximately linear fashion over the duration of this study, indicating that this is a strategy that facilitates longer-term aerial exposure. Thus, this species has the capacity to accommodate both short and long-term exposure to air.

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