1. Fundulus heteroclitus was found to be a reliable experimental animal for studies on chemical stimulation in either fresh or sea water.
2. The response of Fundulus to hydrochloric, acetic, propionic, butyric, valeric, and caproic acids was determined in fresh water, while the same acids plus sulfuric and nitric, as well as the sodium salts of the mineral acids, were tested in sea water.
3. Stimulation of Fundulus by hydrochloric acid in fresh water is correlated with the effective hydrogen ion concentration. Stimulation by the n-aliphatic acids in the same environment is correlated with two factors, the effective hydrogen ion concentration and the potential of the non-polar group in the molecule. However, as the number of CH2 groups increases the stimulating effect increases by smaller and smaller amounts, approaching a maximum value.
4. Stimulation of Fundulus by hydrochloric, sulfuric, and nitric acids in sea water is correlated with the forces of primary valence which in turn are correlated with the change in hydrogen ion concentration of the sea water. The n-aliphatic acids increase in stimulating efficiency in sea water as the length of the carbon chain increases, but a limiting value is not reached as soon as in fresh water.
5. Only a slight difference in stimulation by hydrochloric acid is found in sea water and in fresh water. However, there is a significant difference in stimulation by the fatty acids in fresh and in sea water, which is partly explained by the different buffering capacities of the two media. It is to be noted that in the same environment two different fish, Fundulus and Eupomotis, give different results, while the same fish (Fundulus) in two different environments responds similarly to mineral acids but differently to fatty acids. These results illustrate that stimulation is a function of the interaction between environment and receptors, and that each is important in determining the response.
6. Stimulation by sodium chloride, nitrate, and sulfate is correlated with equivalent concentrations of the salts added to sea water, or with the forces of primary valence. Although the threshold for stimulation by the salts is considerably higher than for the acids, the efficiency of stimulation by the salts is greater.