Using isotopic procedures, the drinking rate and chloride exchanges were studied in the eel Anguilla anguilla during transfer from fresh water to sea water.
1. Following transfer to sea water there is a threefold increase of the drinking rate (lasting about 1 h). Then it falls to a minimum after 12-16 h and rises again to a maximum level about the seventh day after the transfer. Then a gradual reduction leads to a steady value which is not significantly different from the one observed in fresh water.
2. The changes with time of the plasma sodium and chloride concentrations are given. Their kinetics are not completely alike.
3. The chloride outflux increases 40-fold on transfer of the eel to sea water, but even so it is very low. After the sixth hour in sea water there is a progressive increase in the flux, so that on the fourth day it is higher (500 µ-equiv. h-1.100 g-1) than in the seawater-adapted animals (230 µ-equiv.h-1.100 g-1).
4. Drinking rate values in adapted animals are discussed in relation to the external medium. The kinetics of the drinking rate together with variations in body weights after freshwater-seawater transfer are discussed in relation to the possible stimulus of the drinking reflex.
5. Chloride fluxes (outflux, net flux, digestive entry) are compared and lead one to assume that in seawater-adapted fish one-third of the chloride influx enters via the gut and two-thirds via the gills.