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Effects of temperature on acid-base regulation, gill ventilation and air breathing in the clown knifefish, Chitala ornata

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  • Le Thi Hong Gam, Can Tho University
  • ,
  • Do Thi Thanh Huong, Can Tho University
  • ,
  • Dang Diem Tuong, Can Tho University
  • ,
  • Nguyen Thanh Phuong, Can Tho University
  • ,
  • Frank Bo Jensen, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Tobias Wang
  • Mark Bayley

Chitala ornata is a facultative air-breathing fish, which at low temperatures shows an arterial PCO2 (PaCO2) level only slightly elevated above that of water breathers. By holding fish with indwelling catheters at temperatures from 25 to 36°C and measuring blood gasses, we show that this animal follows the ubiquitous poikilotherm pattern of reducing arterial pH with increasing temperature. Surprisingly, the temperature increase caused an elevation of PaCO2 from 5 to 12 mmHg while the plasma bicarbonate concentration remained constant at around 8 mmol l−1. The temperature increase also gave rise to a larger fractional increase in air breathing than in gill ventilation frequency. These findings suggest that air breathing, and hence the partitioning of gas exchange, is to some extent regulated by acid-base status in air-breathing fish and that these bimodal breathers will be increasingly likely to adopt respiratory pH control as temperature rises, providing an interesting avenue for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number216481
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Air-breathing fish, Gas exchange partitioning, PH regulation

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