Osmoregulation in Invertebrates


Osmoregulation ensures that a correct balance of salts and water is maintained inside an animal, both in the circulating fluids (blood), and within the cells. It plays a major role in the achievement of homeostasis, especially in freshwater and terrestrial invertebrates.

Keywords: ionic exchange; salt uptake; water balance; permeability; excretory organs

Figure 1.

Schematic design of an osmoregulatory/excretory organ, showing major concentration effects.

Figure 2.

Patterns of osmoregulation and osmoconformity in aquatic invertebrates.

Figure 3.

Key mechanisms for regulating blood and cell concentrations during changes of salinity.


Further Reading

Dejours P, Bolis L, Taylor CR and Weibel ER (eds) (1987) Comparative Physiology: Life in Water and on Land. Padva: Liviana Press.

Gaede K and Knülle W (1997) On the mechanism of water vapour sorption from unsaturated atmospheres by ticks. Journal of Experimental Biology 200: 1491–1498.

Gibbs AG (1998) Waterproofing properties of cuticular lipids. American Zoologist 38: 471–482.

Greger R (1988) NaCl Transport in Epithelia. Berlin: Springer.

Hadley NF (1994) Water Relations of Terrestrial Arthropods. New York: Academic Press.

Kinne RKH (1993) The role of organic osmolytes in osmoregulation; from bacteria to mammals. Journal of Experimetal Zoology 265: 346–355.

Pequeux A, Gilles R and Marshall WS (1988) NaCl transport in gills and related structures. Advances in Comparative Environmental Physiology 1: 1–73.

Ruppert EE and Smith PR (1988) The functional organisation of filtration nephridia. Biological Reviews 63: 231–258.

Somero GN, Osmond CB and Bolis CL (eds) (1992) Water and Life. Berlin: Springer.

Strange K (1994) Cellular and Molecular Physiology of Cell Volume Regulation. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Willmer PG, Stone GN and Johnston IA (2005) Environmental Physiology of Animals. 2nd edn Oxford: Blackwell.

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Willmer, Pat(Apr 2006) Osmoregulation in Invertebrates. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003646]