Letter | Published:

Role of the Earthworm Nephridium in Water Balance

Nature volume 158, page 665 (09 November 1946) | Download Citation



OSMOTIC and volume regulation have been studied in the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris by many investigators, but no very convincing evidence has been presented regarding the part played by the nephridia. Overton1 observed an initial loss of weight on handling the worm, and attributed this to the expulsion of fluid through the nephridiopores; but Adolf2 failed to confirm this and concluded that there was “no evidence that the nephridia are at all concerned in the water exchange of earthworms”. Since then, Maluf3 has confirmed Overton's observation and has brought indirect evidence to suggest that the urine is hypotonic to the body fluids. Still more recently, Bahl4, working on Pheretima, collected urine by draining from forty to fifty worms in a glass vessel, and showed that the fluid obtained in this way was hypotonic to the lomic fluid.

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  1. 1.

    , Verh. Phys.-Med. Gesells. Würzburg, 26, 277 (1904).

  2. 2.

    , J. Exp. Zool., 47, 31 (1927).

  3. 3.

    , Zool. Jahrb., 59, 535 (1939).

  4. 4.

    , Quart. J. Mic. Soc., 85, 343 (1945).

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  1. Zoological Laboratory, Cambridge. Oct. 10.

    • J. A. RAMSAY


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