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J Comp Physiol B. 2002 Feb;172(2):177-82.

Effect of aestivation on muscle characteristics and locomotor performance in the green-striped burrowing frog, Cyclorana alboguttata.

Author information

1
Department of Zoology and Entomology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Abstract

The Green-striped burrowing frog, Cyclorana alboguttata survives extended drought periods by burrowing underground and aestivating. These frogs remain immobile within cocoons of shed skin and mucus during aestivation and emerge from their burrows upon heavy rains to feed and reproduce. Extended periods of immobilisation in mammals typically result in muscle atrophy and a decrease in muscle performance. We examined the effect of aestivation and hence prolonged immobilisation, on skeletal muscle mass, in vitro muscle performance, and locomotor performance in C. alboguttata. Frogs were aestivated in soil for 3 months and were compared with control animals that remained active, were fed, and had a continual supply of water. Compared to the controls, the wet mass of the gastrocnemius, sartorius, gracilus major, semimembranosus, peroneus, extensor cruris, tibialis posticus and tibialis anticus longus of aestivators remained unchanged indicating no muscle atrophy. The in-vitro performance characteristics of the gastrocnemius muscle were maintained and burst swimming speed was unaffected, requiring no recovery from the extended period of immobilisation associated with aestivation. This preservation of muscle size, contractile condition and locomotor performance through aestivation enables C. alboguttata to compress their life history into unpredictable windows of opportunity, whenever heavy rains occur.

PMID:
11916112
DOI:
10.1007/s00360-001-0242-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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