The stygobitic crayfish Procambarus cavernicola and Procambarus oaxacae reddelli and the epigeal crayfish Procambarus olmecorum were maintained in laboratory conditions in order to compare their oxygen consumption rates by measuring the decreasing oxygen concentration. These closely related species belong to the same subgenus and live in nearby caves and surface streams located in the same karstic region found in northern Oaxaca, Mexico. The consumption rates were monitored in laboratory conditions during fifteen hours in water maintained at 20°C without food. Significant differences among the species were found. Although these species live in similar conditions of total darkness during their life cycles, P. cavernicola had the higher oxygen consumption rate; this is a result of being slightly conditioned to oxygen partial pressures of the experimental bottle. Procambarus oaxacae reddelli showed a lower oxygen consumption rate strongly correlated to the oxygen partial pressure of the water. The epigeal P. olmecorum was used as a control and showed a consumption rate slightly conditioned to oxygen partial pressures that was lower than the consumption rate of P. cavernicola. The differences in consumption rates between the stygobitic species in relation to the characteristics of the caves where they live and their adaptation degree to cave life are discussed.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4