Simultaneous observations of haemolymph flow and ventilation in marine spider crabs at different temperatures: a flow weighted MRI study

Magn Reson Imaging. 2001 Oct;19(8):1113-24. doi: 10.1016/s0730-725x(01)00414-3.


In vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and angiography were applied to the marine spider crab Maja squinado for a study of temperature effects and thermal tolerance. Ventilation and haemolymph circulation were investigated during progressive cooling from 12 degrees C to 2 degrees C. The anatomical resolution of MR images from Maja squinado obtained with a standard spin echo sequence were suitable to resolve the structures of various internal organs. The heart of the animal could be depicted without movement artifacts. The use of a flow compensated gradient echo sequence allowed simultaneous observations of ventilation, reflected by water flow through the gill chambers as well as of haemolymph flow. Simultaneous investigation of various arteries was possible by use of flow weighted MRI. In addition to those accessible by standard invasive flow sensitive doppler sensors, flow changes in gill, leg arteries and the venous return could be observed. Both ventilation and haemolymph flow decreased during progressive cooling and changes in haemolymph flow varied between arteries. Haemolymph flow through the Arteria sternalis, some gill and leg arteries was maintained at low temperatures indicating a reduced thermal sensitivity of flow in selected vessels. In support of previous invasive studies of haemolymph flow as well as heart and ventilation rates, the results demonstrate that the operation of gills and the maintenance of locomotor activity are critical for cold tolerance. A shift in haemolymph flow between arteries likely occurs to ensure the functioning of locomotion and ventilation in the cold.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Brachyura / physiology*
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Hemolymph / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*