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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X


RIZZATTI, A.C.S.  and  ROMERO, S.M.B.. Heart rate and body weight alterations in juvenile specimens of the tropical land snail Megalobulimus sanctipauli during dormancy. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2001, vol.34, n.7, pp.959-967. ISSN 1414-431X.

The time course of heart rate and body weight alterations during the natural period of dormancy were determined in active feeding and dormant juvenile specimens of Megalobulimus sanctipauli. In both groups, heart rate markedly decreased during the first 40 days of dormancy, tending to stabilize thereafter. This time period coincided with the decrease in environmental temperature during autumn-winter. At the end of the dormancy period, surviving active feeding and dormant snails showed a significant decrease in heart rate which, however, was significantly greater in the latter group. Total body weight decreased concomitantly with heart rate in dormant snails but remained constant in active feeding snails. Body hydration induced significant increases in weight and heart rate in surviving dormant snails. Feeding following hydration promoted a new significant increase in heart rate but not in weight. These results indicate that the decrease in heart rate observed in juvenile specimens of M. sanctipauli during dormancy may be due to at least three factors: 1) decrease in environmental temperature during autumn-winter, 2) starvation which leads to the depletion of endogenous fuel reserves and to a probable decrease in hemolymph nutrient levels, and 3) dehydration which leads to a probable decrease in hemolymph volume and venous return and/or to an increase in hemolymph osmolarity.

Keywords : dehydration; dormancy; heart rate; snail; starvation; Megalobulimus sanctipauli.

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