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DYNAMICS OF IONS IN THE HAEMOLYMPH OF GIANT AFRICAN LAND SNAILS (ARCHACHATINA MARGINATA) DURING FASTING

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DYNAMICS OF IONS IN THE HAEMOLYMPH OF GIANT AFRICAN LAND SNAILS (Archachatina Marginata) DURING FASTING

 

ABSTRACT

This experiment was conducted to study the dynamics of ions in the haemolymph of Giant African land snails (Archachatina marginata) during fasting. Fourty Archachatina marginata were purchased and using a completely randomized design (CRD) they were arranged into four different treatments. Haemolymph was collected randomly from three samples within each treatment and the samples were analyzed for electrolytes which include sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides, creatinine, calcium, phosphate and potassium. For sodium there was significant difference in its concentration in the haemolymph from week 3 to week 6 (P<0.05) with the lowest concentration in week 6 and the highest in week 3. For bicarbonate significant difference (P<0.05) in the concentration of the haemolymph was only noticed from week 0 to week 3 with the lowest concentration found in week 9 and the highest in week 0. There was significant difference (P<0.05) from week 0 to week 9 in the concentration of haemolymph chloride with the lowest concentration found in week 6 and the highest in week 3. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in the concentration of creatinine through the 9 weeks of the study. Calcium concentration had no significant difference (P>0.05) from week 0 to week 3, the lowest concentration was found in week 6 and the highest week 3. Phosphates concentration had no significant difference (P>0.05) from week 0 to week 9 with the lowest concentration found in week 9 and the highest in week 6. Fasting had no significant difference (P>0.05) on the concentration of potassium through the 9 weeks of the experiment the lowest concentration was found in week 9 and the highest week 0. From this study fasting had no effect on the phosphate and creatinine concentration of the haemolymph of Archachatina marginata, but with effect on sodium, bicarbonate, chloride, potassium and calcium.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Giant African Land Snails (Archachatina marginata) are among the most popular species of terrestrial mollusks kept as pets or used as a source of food in many African countries (Ademolu et al., 2016). These snails are known for their ability to survive in a wide range of environmental conditions, including low rainfall, high temperatures, and low-nutrient habitats (NRC, 2009). One of the key physiological mechanisms that enable snails to survive in such conditions is their ability to adapt to periods of food scarcity by reducing their metabolic rate and conserving energy and water (Graf and Koehler, 1987).

The haemolymph of snails contains various ions that play a critical role in maintaining their homeostasis and regulating their physiological processes (Heller and Spirito, 1973). These ions include sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride, which are essential for the balance of water and electrolytes in snail bodies (Burch and Pearce, 1990). Fasting is a common phenomenon in the lives of snails, and during fasting, the dynamics of ions in their haemolymph may change in response to the changes in their metabolic rate and physiological activities.

Understanding the dynamics of ions in the haemolymph of snails during fasting is crucial for understanding the physiological adaptations of these animals to periods of food scarcity. In this study, we investigate the dynamics of ions in the haemolymph of Giant African Land Snails during fasting, with the aim of exploring the changes in the concentration of different ions in the haemolymph of these snails during periods of food deprivation and understanding the potential implications of these changes on snail physiology.

Previous research has shown that snails are capable of regulating the concentration of various ions in their haemolymph in response to changes in environmental conditions (Slama et al., 2014). For example, a study by Slama et al. (2014) found that the concentration of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium in the haemolymph of the snail Helix aspersa changed in response to changes in temperature and humidity. Another study by West-Eberhard (1986) found that the concentration of potassium in the haemolymph of the snail Achatina fulica decreased during aestivation (a state of torpor).

However, little is known about how the dynamics of ions in the haemolymph of Giant African Land Snails change during fasting. Studies on other snail species have shown that fasting may affect the concentration of various ions in their haemolymph. For example, a study by Storch and Greven (1988) found that the concentration of calcium and magnesium in the haemolymph of the snail Otala lactea decreased during fasting. Another study by Lignot et al. (1997) found that the concentration of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate in the haemolymph of the snail Helix aspersa decreased during fasting.

To our knowledge, no studies have investigated the dynamics of ions in the haemolymph of Giant African Land Snails during fasting. Understanding the changes in the concentration of ions in

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