1. The total osmotic pressure, electrical conductivity and chloride concentration of the body fluid of Ascaris lumbricoides and of the intestinal contents of the pig have been measured.
2. The results obtained agree with the observations of previous workers that Ascaris normally lives in a hypertonic medium and that it swells or shrinks in saline media which are too dilute or too concentrated.
3. Experiments comparing the behaviour of normal and ligatured animals show that both the body wall and the wall of the alimentary canal are surfaces through which water can pass.
4. 30% sea water has been used as a balanced saline medium for keeping the worms alive in the laboratory. This concentration was selected as being the one in which there was least change in the body weight of the animals exposed to it.
5. The osmotic pressure of the body fluid of worms kept in 30% sea water is approximately the same as in animals taken directly from the pig's intestine. The body fluid of fresh worms is hypertonic to 30% sea water and hypotonic to the intestinal fluid. In 30% sea water the normal osmotic gradient across the body wall is therefore reversed.
6. In 30% sea water the total ionic concentration (as measured by the conductivity) decreases slightly, but the chloride concentration increases by about 50%, although still remaining much below that of the external medium.
7. Experiments in which the animals were allowed to come into equilibrium with various concentrations of sea water from 20 to 40% show that there are corresponding changes in the osmotic pressure of the body fluid which is, however, always slightly above that of the saline medium. The conductivity also changes in a similar manner but is always less than that of the medium, and the difference between the two becomes progressively greater the more concentrated the medium.
8. The chloride concentration of the body fluid varies with but is always below that of the external medium, whether this is intestinal fluid or one of the saline media. In the latter the difference between the internal and external chloride concentrations is least in 20% sea water and becomes progressively greater as the concentration of the medium is increased.
9. Experiments with ligatured worms and with eviscerated cylinders of the body wall show that these share the capacity of the normal worm to maintain the chloride concentration of the body fluid below that of the environment. This power is not possessed by cylinders composed of the cuticle alone.
10. If the worms which have had their internal chloride concentration raised by exposure to 30% sea water are transferred to a medium composed of equal volumes of 30% sea water and isotonic sodium nitrate solution, the chloride concentration of the body fluid is reduced to a value below that of the external medium. This phenomenon is also displayed by worms ligatured after removal from the 30% sea water and, to an even more marked degree, by eviscerated cylinders of the body wall.
11. It is concluded that Ascaris is able to maintain the chloride concentration of the body fluid below that of the external medium by an process of chloride excretion against a concentration gradient, and that this mechanism is resident in the body wall, the cuticle being freely permeable to chloride.