Scientia Marina, Vol 72, No 3 (2008)

Osmoregulation as a potential factor for the differential distribution of two cryptic gobiid species, Pomatoschistus microps and P. marmoratus in French Mediterranean lagoons

François Rigal
Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Lagunaires, Université Montpellier II, France

Equipe Adaptation Ecophysiologique et Ontogenèse, Université Montpellier II.

Thibaud Chevalier
Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Lagunaires, Université Montpellier II, France

Equipe Adaptation Ecophysiologique et Ontogenèse, Université Montpellier II.

Catherine Lorin-Nebel
Equipe Adaptation Ecophysiologique et Ontogenèse, Université Montpellier II., France

Guy Charmantier
Equipe Adaptation Ecophysiologique et Ontogenèse, Université Montpellier II., France

Jean-Antoine Tomasini
Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Lagunaires, Université Montpellier II, France

Fabien Aujoulat
Equipe Adaptation Ecophysiologique et Ontogenèse, Université Montpellier II., France

Patrick Berrebi
Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Lagunaires, Université Montpellier II, France

Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, Université Montpellier II.


This study was aimed at the detection of potential differences in the osmoregulatory capacity of two cryptic species of gobies, Pomatoschistus microps (Krøyer, 1838) and P. marmoratus (Risso, 1810), that have different distributions in French Mediterranean lagoons characterised by different salinity regimes. Specimens of both species were experimentally exposed to different salinities, their salinity tolerance was evaluated and their blood osmolality was measured. Both species are strong osmoregulators over a wide range of salinities but P. microps showed higher performances of hyper-regulation at very low salinities (10 and 40 mosm/kg, i.e. freshwater 0.3 and 1.4) and of hypo-regulation at high salinities (1500 mosm/kg, 51). Only P. microps was able to tolerate freshwater exposure over 4 days. We conclude that the high osmoregulatory capacity found in P. microps is linked to its better survival at very low salinities and is a physiological requirement for living in areas such as the Mauguio lagoon where salinity is highly variable. In contrast, as osmoregulation of P. marmoratus is less efficient at extreme salinities, this species cannot colonise such environments and is restricted to habitats where salinity is more stable, such as the Thau lagoon.


competition; lagoons; osmoregulation; Pomatoschistus; salinity tolerance

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