The majority of shore creatures utilize the oxygen dissolved in seawater for their respiration, but a few are air-breathing. Some of these have evolved from land forms which have spread to the seashore, for example the insects Petrobius and Lipura, and the gastropods Otina and Leucophytia. Others have evolved directly from marine forms, their respiratory organs having become adapted to absorb atmospheric oxygen, for example the sea slater Ligia, the amphipods Orchestia and Talitrus, and the periwinkles Littorina neritoides and L. saxatilis. In either case immersion cuts off the essential supply of air, and may be fatal if too prolonged.
During immersion the shore population experiences varying water pressure, with very rapid fluctuations where there are waves. Sensitivity to water pressure must be a factor having some influence on distribution within the intertidal zone.
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