The pore-densities (PD) in the tests of 232 specimens of the shallow infaunal foraminiferal species Bolivina spissa from eight locations off the Peruvian continental margin were investigated and compared to different environmental factors as water-depth, temperature, bottom-water oxygen ([O2]BW) and nitrate concentrations ([NO3−]BW). There is a negative exponential PD-[O2]BW correlation, but at oxygen-concentrations >10 μmol/l PD approaches a constant value without any further correlation to [O2]BW. The PD-[NO3−]BW relationship is better constrained than that for PD-[O2]BW. We hypothesize that the pores in the tests of B. spissa largely reflect the intracellular nitrate, and to a smaller extent the oxygen respiration. We also compared PD and porosity (P) of two single B.spissa and B.seminuda specimens from the same habitat. The comparison showed that P is significantly higher in B.seminuda than in B. spissa indicating that B.seminuda is much better adapted to strong oxygen-depleted habitats than B.spissa.