Hematology of three deep-sea fishes: a reflection of low metabolic rates

Comp Biochem Physiol A Comp Physiol. 1985;80(1):79-84. doi: 10.1016/0300-9629(85)90682-6.


Blood was collected from three species of fish, Antimora rostrata (Moridae), Lycodes esmarkii (Zoarcidae), Macrurus berglax (Macrouridae), caught at depths ranging from 280 to 2300 m. Hemoglobin concentrations were low in all three species, ranging from 4.4 to 5.4 g/100 ml. Mean erythrocyte volumes were relatively large, and ranged from 277 micron3 in M. berglax to 672 micron3 in A. rostrata. Blood oxygen dissociation curves were hyperbolic, with relatively low Hill constants (0.95-1.26). Mean P50 values ranged from 10 mmHg in M. berglax to 28 mmHg in L. esmarkii. It is concluded that the hematology and oxygen-binding characteristics of the blood of these three deep-sea fish reflects adaptations to low metabolic rates and low general activity habits.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Erythrocyte Indices
  • Fishes / blood*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Pressure


  • Hemoglobins
  • Oxygen