The erythrocytes of the short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), an egg-laying mammal, were examined for the presence of phosphorylated compounds. The erythrocytes contained only 0.03 +/- 0.01 micromoles of adenosine 5'-triphosphate per milliliter of cells. This amount is two orders of magnitude less than that in human cells. Although the echidna erythrocytes had an abundance of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate and other glycolytic intermediates, no other energy-rich pyridine and purine compounds were detected.

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