Calcium regulation in the freshwater-adapted mummichog

M. L. Patrick, C. M. Wood, W. S. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In light of recent findings of an unusual pattern of ionoregulation (high Na+ uptake and negligible Cl- uptake) in the freshwater-adapted mummichog Fundulus heterocliitus, the pattern of Ca2+ regulation was examined. Under control conditions (water Ca2+ =200 μEq l-1), unidirectional Ca2+ influx was 11 ±4 nEq g-1 h-1. Acute variation of external Ca2+ levels revealed a saturable Ca2+ uptake system with a relatively high affinity (K(m)=125 ± 36 μEq l-1) and a transport capacity (J(max)=31 ± 4nEq g-1 h-1) comparable to those of other teleosts. Lanthanum (equimola to [Ca2+]) significantly blocked Ca2+ uptake by 67% whereas magnesium had no effect. Chronic low Ca2+ exposure (50 μEq l-1) stimulated Ca2+ uptake almost three-fold above control values, whereas chronic high Ca2+ exposure (20 000 μEq l-1) had no effect. Lanthanum and chronic low Ca2+ treatments disturbed the normally positive Ca2+ and Na+ balances of the animals whereas acid-base balance and ammonia excretion were undisturbed. The results indicate that Ca2+ regulation by the mummichog conforms to the model for freshwater Ca2+ transport whereby chloride cells on the gills take up Ca2+ actively from the water. However, the absence of extra-intestinal Cl- uptake and the recent demonstration of significant Ca2+ uptake by opercular epithelia raise questions about the relative roles of branchial and opercular epithelial chloride cells in freshwater F. heteroclitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1997


  • Calcium
  • Fish
  • Fundulus heteroclitus
  • Ion fluxes
  • Mummichog

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Calcium regulation in the freshwater-adapted mummichog'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this