Chapter

Terrestrial animals Terrestrial animals

Timothy J. Bradley

in Animal Osmoregulation

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780198569961
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191728273 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198569961.003.0008

Series: Oxford Animal Biology Series

Terrestrial animals Terrestrial animals

Preview

Terrestrial animals face extremely large gradients for the activity of water between their bodily fluids and the dry atmosphere that surrounds them. The capacity of air to hold water vapour varies substantially with temperature. As a result, warm dry air produces the largest gradients for the activity of water faced by any animals. For many terrestrial animals, resistance to dry air requires mechanisms for making the integument more impermeable to water. In most vertebrates, this involves keratinized skin, while in insects and some frogs, waxes are used to make the integument less permeable to water. Adaptation to a terrestrial environment also requires the capacity to produce hyperosmotic urine. The specialized organs for producing concentrated urine are described for both vertebrates and insects, the two phylogenetic groups that have been most successful in the colonizing terrestrial niches. Some arthropods have the capacity to take up water vapour from subsaturated air.

Keywords: relative humidity; integument; kidneys; salt glands; loop of Henle; water uptake

Chapter.  8214 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: zoology and animal sciences

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