1. The respiration of tench at 13°C was investigated, particular attention being given to the role of the blood in uptake and transport of oxygen.
2. In well aerated water the mean value for arterial blood was 36 mmHg, for PCOCO2 3.3 mmHg and for pH 8.16; the respective venous values were 7 mmHg, 5 mmHg and 8.08. Arterial blood averaged about 75% and venous blood about 40° oxygen saturation. The mean value for oxygen uptake was 0.5 ml/min/kg and for ventilation volume 132/ml/mm/kg.
3. The oxygen tension and the percentage saturation of the blood determined in vivo are discussed in terms of the oxygen dissociation curve determined in vitro.
4. When the environmental POO2 was decreased, tench responded by increasing breathing rate and ventilation volume. Arterial POO2 and PCOCO2 decreased but arterial pH tended to remain steady. There was also a significant increase in blood lactate.
5. That tenth can withstand severe hypoxic conditions is attributed to blood of high oxygen affinity and the ability to maintain a favourable acid-base status in the blood for oxygen transport.
6. Respiration in tench is compared with that in other fish species.