1. In euryhaline teleosts the transmural salt and water flow and the flow and concentration changes along the gut were simulated by analogue computation. The purpose was to elucidate the interaction of and sensitivity to the parameters of the system particularly with respect to intestinal water absorption. The simulations were based on data obtained from the yellow European eel, the rainbow trout and the cyprinodont Aphanius dispar.
2. When the experimental values for drinking rate, maximal NaCl absorption rate and concentration at half-maximal absorption rate, osmotic permeability coefficient, solute-linked water flow, and concentrations in the gut were used in the model, good consistency was achieved, and predictions could be made.
3. The simulations demonstrated a close linkage between drinking rate and maximal NaCl absorption rate. A large water absorption was only possible close to an optimal drinking rate for each value of maximal NaCl transport rate. The water absorption was little sensitive to the osmotic permeability coefficient of the intestinal wall.
4. As a means of adaptation to waters of high salinity an increase in maximal NaCl absorption rate was shown to be very costly for energetic reasons. This supports indirectly the concept that the osmotic permeability of the gills must go down. The increase in plasma osmolality was a useful part of the adaptation.