Nitrogenous excretion in the Antarctic plunderfish

The nitrogenous excretion rates (total ammonia nitrogen, urea, and primary amines) of plunderfish Harpagifer antarcticus were related significantly to length and to wet mass (mass exponents of 0·94, 1·01, 1·07 and 0·93 for total ammonia nitrogen, urea, primary amines, and total nitrogen, respectively). The routine total ammonia excretion rates [22·23 & 2·0 mg N kg−1 day−1 (mean±S.E.)] of plunderfish measured in Antarctica are 10–69% lower than those of comparable non-polar species. Plunderfish are ammonotelic, but the proportion of the total nitrogenous waste attributable to each category was variable between individuals. On average (ranges in parentheses), total ammonia nitrogen, urea, and primary amines accounted for c.82 (57–97), 13 (2–28), and 5 (0·6–22)%, respectively, of the total nitrogen excreted. Polar fish differ from their non-polar relatives only in the rate, and not the nature, of their nitrogenous waste excretion processes.


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Authors: Boyce, S. J.

1 January, 1999
Journal of Fish Biology / 54
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