Document Detail

Quadrupedal locomotor performance in two species of arboreal squirrels: predicting energy savings of gliding.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20361193     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Gliding allows mammals to exploit canopy habitats of old-growth forests possibly as a means to save energy. To assess costs of quadrupedal locomotion for a gliding arboreal mammal, we used open-flow respirometry and a variable-speed treadmill to measure oxygen consumption and to calculate cost of transport, excess exercise oxygen consumption, and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption for nine northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) and four fox squirrels (Sciurus niger). Our results indicate that oxygen consumption during exercise by flying squirrels was 1.26-1.65 times higher than predicted based on body mass, and exponentially increased with velocity (from 0.84 ± 0.03 ml O(2) kg(-1) s(-1) at 0.40 m s(-1) to 1.55 ± 0.03 ml O(2) kg(-1) s(-1) at 0.67 m s(-1)). Also, cost of transport in flying squirrels increased with velocity, although excess exercise oxygen consumption and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption did not. In contrast, oxygen consumption during exercise for fox squirrels was similar to predicted, varying from 0.51 (±0.02) ml O(2) kg(-1) s(-1) at 0.63 m s(-1) to 0.54 (±0.03) ml O(2) kg(-1) s(-1) at 1.25 m s(-1). In addition, the cost of transport for fox squirrels decreased with velocity, while excess exercise oxygen consumption and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption did not. Collectively, these observations suggest that unlike fox squirrels, flying squirrels are poorly adapted to prolonged bouts of quadrupedal locomotion. The evolution of skeletal adaptations to climbing, leaping, and landing and the development of a gliding membrane likely has increased the cost of quadrupedal locomotion by >50% while resulting in energy savings during gliding and reduction in travel time between foraging patches.
Elizabeth A Flaherty; Merav Ben-David; Winston P Smith
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2010-04-02
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology     Volume:  180     ISSN:  1432-136X     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Comp. Physiol. B, Biochem. Syst. Environ. Physiol.     Publication Date:  2010 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-09-16     Completed Date:  2011-01-21     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8413200     Medline TA:  J Comp Physiol B     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1067-78     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Zoology and Physiology, Dept. 3166, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Ave, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Basal Metabolism
Behavior, Animal / physiology
Body Weight
Energy Metabolism*
Flight, Animal / physiology*
Oxygen Consumption
Running / physiology*
Sciuridae / metabolism*
Time Factors
United States

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