Osmoregulation by Vertebrates in Terrestrial Environments

Abstract

A terrestrial environment for vertebrates leads to both a passive water loss to the air and solute gain through food. Consequently, terrestrial environments would tend to increase the osmotic concentration of vertebrates. Natural selection has led to a variety of behavioural, physiological and anatomical adaptations to both minimize water loss and excrete solutes in order to maintain a constant osmotic concentration in terrestrial environments.

Keywords: water turnover; cutaneous resistance; nasal turbinates; kidneys; salt glands; vertebrates

Figure 1.

Factors influencing boundary layer thickness.

Figure 2.

Daily water turnover relative to body mass in representatives of the four terrestrial vertebrate classes.

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Further Reading

Dantzler WB (1982) Renal adaptations of desert vertebrates. BioScience 32: 108–113.

Feder ME and Burggren WW (eds) (1992) Environmental Physiology of the Amphibia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hillenius WJ (1992) The evolution of nasal turbinates and mammalian endothermy. Paleobiology 18: 17–29.

McClanahan LL, Ruibal R and Shoemaker VH (1994) Frogs and toads in deserts. Scientific American March: 64–70.

Peaker M and Linzell JL (1975) Salt Glands in Reptiles and Birds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Shoemaker VH and Nagy KA (1977) Osmoregulation in amphibians and reptiles. Annual Review of Physiology 39: 449–471.

Willmer P, Stone G and Johnston I (2000) Environmental Physiology of Animals. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

Withers PC (1992) Comparative Animal Physiology. Orlando, FL: Saunders College Publishing.

Yokota SD, Benyajati S and Dantzler WH (1985) Comparative aspects of glomerular filtration in vertebrates. Renal Physiology 8: 193–221.

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How to Cite close
Hillman, Stanley S(Apr 2001) Osmoregulation by Vertebrates in Terrestrial Environments. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001843]