Categories: Biology

Chinese Soft Shelled Turtle Evacuates Majority of Urea through its Mouth

chinese-soft-shelled-turtle

Credit: Akwarium Gdynia

When Chinese soft-shelled turtles (Pelodiscus sinensis) need to urinate, they open their mouths, according to a new study. As odd as it might seem, this actually makes sense for this amphibious organism.

The researchers published their findings in The Journal of Experimental Biology. These reptiles don’t have any gills, but they have structures inside their mouths that work like gills. This means that P. sinensis has the option of breathing underwater, though most of the time they just reach up and breathe air. But what researchers found perplexing was that when the turtles were on dry land, they would stick their heads in puddles and swish water around in their mouths. This was one of the clues that led researchers to consider that there was something more happening than respiration.

Credit: Frank Greenaway

The scientists bought P. sinensis specimens at a market in Singapore and found ways to collect their urine. They attached a flexible latex tube to each underside. They discovered that the animals were getting rid of a vast majority of their urea, which is a major component of urine, through their mouths instead of their undersides.

The team speculates that this might be because the animals have to drink a lot of water to make urine, which can be unhealthy in saltwater environments where these turtles spend most of their time. If they are just rinsing out the water around their mouths, they avoid having to get rid of the salt.

Reference: “The Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, excretes urea mainly through the mouth instead of the kidney” by Yuen K. Ip, Ai M. Loong, Serene M. L. Lee, Jasmine L. Y. Ong, Wai P. Wong and Shit F. Chew, 1 November 2012, The Journal of Experimental Biology.
DOI: 10.1242/jeb.068916

Share
By
SciTechDaily

Recent Posts

Biosensors Change the Way Toxic Water Contamination Is Detected

Social scientist and synthetic biologist collaborate to tackle a global challenge. Scientists from Northwestern University…

February 8, 2023

The Hunt for Cosmic Dawn: HERA Doubles Sensitivity to Unlock the Secrets of the Early Universe

The latest data from HERA improves the search for cosmic dawn radiation and tests theories…

February 8, 2023

Researchers Have Developed an Entire Color Palette of Inexpensive Fluorescent Dyes

ETH Zurich researchers have created new fluorescent dyes that are simple and inexpensive to make.…

February 7, 2023

Harvard Study Links a Variety of Healthy Eating Patterns to a Lower Risk of Premature Death

A Harvard study finds healthy eating patterns lower risk of premature death. Researchers discovered participants…

February 7, 2023

Researchers Discover a Previously Unknown Cellular Component Inside Neurons That We Use To Perceive Smell

Umeå University researchers in Sweden have uncovered a previously unidentified cellular component, an organelle, within…

February 7, 2023

Joe Acaba Selected To Serve As NASA’s Chief Astronaut

NASA has selected veteran astronaut Joe Acaba as chief of the Astronaut Office at the…

February 7, 2023