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Oxygen Uptake of Developing Eggs and Larvae of the Herring (Clupea Harengus)

  • F. G. T. Holliday (a1), J. H. S. Blaxter (a2) and Reuben Lasker (a3)


The oxygen uptake of eggs and larvae of Norwegian herring from Bergen (mean unfertilized egg dry weight about 035 mg) and of Baltic herring from Kiel (mean unfertilized egg dry weight about 0·10 mg) was measured by a reference diver and a Warburg respirometer. Anaesthetized Kiel larvae had values of about 0·10μl./larva/h and Bergen larvae 0·25μl./larva/h. When expressed as Qo (μl./mg dry weight/h) the values became Kiel 2·3, Bergen 2·5.

Oxygen uptake of embryos before hatching and of larvae, expressed as Qo, was most affected by activity, increasing in very active organisms by five to ten times the resting value of 1-2 μl./mg dry weight/h. Experiments to test the effects of temperature and salinity were done using anaesthetized larvae in some cases.

Temperature experiments with larvae gave a Q10 of about 2, the Qo, of anaesthetized Kiel larvae ranging from about 2·0 at 50° C to 35 at 14°C, and that of unanaesthetized Bergen larvae from 2·5 at 6° C to 50 at 140°C.

Eggs and larvae of both races reared in salinities from 5 to 50 %0 showed no detectable difference in oxygen uptake. However, abrupt transfer of anaesthetized larvae from one salinity to another caused violent fluctuations (by up to ten times) before adaptation took place. Buoyancy differences appeared to mask differences in oxygen uptake of unanaesthetized larvae in similar transfer experiments.

There was little tendency for oxygen uptake to become reduced during darkness in either Bergen or Kiel larvae.

The effect of age on oxygen uptake (expressed as Qo) was not marked, though there tended to be a peak at, and just after, hatching, with a tendency for a fall off during starvation.


Corresponding author

*Present address: Natural History Department, The University, Aberdeen.


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Oxygen Uptake of Developing Eggs and Larvae of the Herring (Clupea Harengus)

  • F. G. T. Holliday (a1), J. H. S. Blaxter (a2) and Reuben Lasker (a3)


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