Respiration by buried echidnas Tachyglossus aculeatus

Waugh, Courtney A., Grigg, Gordon C., Booth, David T. and Beard, Lyn A. (2006) Respiration by buried echidnas Tachyglossus aculeatus. Journal of Experimental Biology, 209 5: 938-944. doi:10.1242/jeb.02063

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
UQ80789_OA.pdf Full text (open access) application/pdf 379.50KB 0

Author Waugh, Courtney A.
Grigg, Gordon C.
Booth, David T.
Beard, Lyn A.
Title Respiration by buried echidnas Tachyglossus aculeatus
Journal name Journal of Experimental Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
Publication date 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.02063
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 209
Issue 5
Start page 938
End page 944
Total pages 7
Place of publication Cambridge
Publisher Company of Biologists Ltd
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
270604 Comparative Physiology
780105 Biological sciences
Abstract Short-beaked echidnas have an impressive ability to submerge completely into soil or sand and remain there, cryptic, for long periods. This poses questions about how they manage their respiration, cut off from a free flow of gases. We measured the gradient in oxygen partial pressure (P-O2) away from the snouts of buried echidnas and oxygen consumption (V-O2) in five individuals under similar conditions, in two substrates with different air-filled porosities (f(a)). A theoretical diffusion model indicated that diffusion alone was insufficient to account for the flux of oxygen required to meet measured rates of V-O2. However, it was noticed that echidnas often showed periodic movements of the anterior part of the body, as if such movements were a deliberate effort to flush the tidal air space surrounding their nostrils. These 'flushing movements' were subsequently found to temporarily increase the levels of interstitial oxygen in the soil around the head region. Flushing movements were more frequent while V-O2 was higher during the burrowing process, and also in substrate with lower fa. We conclude that oxygen supply to buried echidnas is maintained by diffusion through the soil augmented by periodic flushing movements, which ventilate the tidal airspace that surrounds the nostrils.
Keyword Monotreme
Gas Exchange
Oxygen Consumption
Q-Index Code C1

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 09:11:16 EST