Body size of temperate sea spiders: No evidence of oxygen-temperature limitations

Caitlin M. Shishido, H. Arthur Woods, Bret W. Tobalske, Steven J. Lane, Amy L. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oxygen limitation has been proposed as one of the key factors that limits body size at high temperatures (the oxygen-temperature hypothesis). Geographic patterns in body size are thought to be driven in part by the effects of temperature on oxygen supply and demand, particularly when the increased oxygen demand of tissues at higher temperatures outpaces the ability of large organisms to supply internal tissues with oxygen. We tested the effects of temperature on the rate of oxygen consumption of two temperate sea spider (Pycnogonida) species, Achelia chelata and Achelia gracilipes, across a range of body sizes. We measured oxygen consumption at 5 temperatures: 12, 16, 20, 24, and 28 7C. Oxygen consumption of both species increased significantly with temperature, but the effect did not depend on body size; thus, we found no evidence to support the oxygentemperature hypothesis. While previous interspecific studies on Antarctic pycnogonids have found that larger-bodied animals have more porous cuticles, thus potentially offsetting their higher aerobic metabolic demand by increasing oxygen diffusivity, the pore area of the cuticle of the two temperate species did not change with body size. This suggests that the generally small size of warm-water sea spiders may be due to selective factors other than oxygen limitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


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