Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in INVESTIGATIONS OF THE ICHTHYOFAUNA OF NICARAGUAN LAKES, ed. Thomas B. Thorson (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1976). Copyright © 1976 School of Life Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Since the discovery of the phenomenally high urea content of the body fluids of cartilaginous fishes by Staedeler and Frerichs (1858), the unique osmoregulatory system of this vertebrate class has been studied by many investigators. In broad outline, the mechanisms are essentially similar in all three of the major subtaxa: the selachians, the batoids, and the holocephalans. A single exception is the genus Potamotrygon (fresh-water stingrays of South America and Africa), which has apparently lost the ability to concentrate urea even when transferred to salt water.