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  • Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Volume 74, Issue 3
  • August 1994, pp. 687-706

The morphometrics of cephalopod gills

  • N. Clare Eno (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2009

The capacity for oxygen uptake of a respiratory organ can be estimated using morpho-metric techniques, the two essential measurements being respiratory surface-area and thickness of the tissue barrier across which oxygen diffuses. In cephalopods, the gills are the main site of respiratory exchange and this study was designed to estimate oxygen uptake capacity of the gills of four different genera of cephalopods. A preliminary study was required to determine the form and structure of the gills. Light microscopy showed the surface of the gills to be highly folded, particularly in Octopus. A level of microscopy was chosen at which the outline of the smallest folds of the epithelium and the blood vessels of the gills could be easily resolved. Stereological techniques were then employed to obtain values for the respiratory surface-area related to body weight (cm2 g-1), tissue barrier thickness (μm) and oxygen-diffusing capacity (ml O2 min1 Torr·1 kg1). Values for these three variables obtained for the different species were as follows: Octopus vulgaris 2·9 cm2 g-1, 10 μm, 0·05 ml O2 min-1 Torr-1 kg1; Alloteuthis subulata 10·6 cm2 g1,6 μm, 0·27 ml O2 min-1 Torr-1 kg-1; Nautilus sp. 4·9 cm2 g-1,15 μm, 0·05 ml O2 min-1 Torr1 kg-1; Sepia hatchlings 13·3 cm2 g-1, 4 μm, 0·52 ml O2 min-1 Torr-1 kg-1.

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H.E. Bradbury , 1971. A technique for demonstrating the blood vascular system of a squid. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 49, 505506.

G.M. Hughes , 1970. A comparative approach to fish respiration. Experientia, 26, 113122.

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R. Owen , 1832. Memoir on the pearly nautilus (Nautilus pompilius, Linn.) with illustrations of its i external form and internal structure. London: Royal College of Surgeons.

R. Schipp , S. Mollenhauer & S. Von Boletzky , 1979. Electron microscopical and histochemical i studies of differentiation and function of the cephalopod gill (Sepia officinalis). Zoomorphology, 93, 193207.

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M.J. Wells , R.K. O'dor , K. Mangold & J. Wells , 1983a. Diurnal changes in activity and metabolic rate in Octopus vulgaris. Marine Behaviour and Physiology, 9, 275287.

M.J. Wells , R.K. O'dor , K. Mangold & J. Wells , 1983b. Oxygen consumption in movement by Octopus. Marine Behaviour and Physiology, 9, 289303.

M.J. Wells , R.K. O'dor , K. Mangold & J. Wells , 1983c. Feeding and metabolic rate in Octopus. Marine Behaviour and Physiology, 9, 305317.

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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
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