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Physiol Biochem Zool. 2003 Mar-Apr;76(2):240-6.

Temperature and meal size effects on the postprandial metabolism and energetics in a boid snake.

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Departamento de Zoologia, c. p. 199, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, São Paulo 13506-970, Brasil.


We investigated the combined effect of meal size and temperature on the aerobic metabolism and energetics of digestion in Boa constrictor amarali. Oxygen uptake rates (Vd2;o2) and the duration of the digestion were determined in snakes fed with meals equaling to 5%, 10%, 20%, and 40% of the snake's body mass at 25 degrees and 30 degrees C. The maximum Vd2;o2 values attained during digestion were greater at 30 degrees C than at 25 degrees C. Both maximal Vd2;o2 values and the duration of the specific dynamic action (SDA) were attained sooner at 30 degrees C than at 25 degrees C. Therefore, the temperature effect on digestion in Boa is characterized by the shortening of the SDA duration at the expense of increased Vd2;o2. Energy allocated to SDA was not affected by meal size but was greater at 25 degrees C compared to 30 degrees C. This indicates that a postprandial thermophilic response can be advantageous not only by decreasing the duration of digestion but also by improving digestive efficiency. Maximal Vd2;o2 and SDA duration increased with meal size at both temperatures.

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