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J Exp Biol. 2000 Mar;203(Pt 6):1081-92.

Mechanics of lung ventilation in a post-metamorphic salamander, Ambystoma Tigrinum.

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1
Department of Biology and Program in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Morrill Science Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.

Abstract

The mechanics of lung ventilation in frogs and aquatic salamanders has been well characterized, whereas lung ventilation in terrestrial-phase (post-metamorphic) salamanders has received little attention. We used electromyography (EMG), X-ray videography, standard videography and buccal and body cavity pressure measurements to characterize the ventilation mechanics of adult (post-metamorphic) tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum). Three results emerged: (i) under terrestrial conditions or when floating at the surface of the water, adult A. tigrinum breathed through their nares using a two-stroke buccal pump; (ii) in addition to this narial two-stroke pump, adult tiger salamanders also gulped air in through their mouths using a modified two-stroke buccal pump when in an aquatic environment; and (iii) exhalation in adult tiger salamanders is active during aquatic gulping breaths, whereas exhalation appears to be passive during terrestrial breathing at rest. Active exhalation in aquatic breaths is indicated by an increase in body cavity pressure during exhalation and associated EMG activity in the lateral hypaxial musculature, particularly the M. transversus abdominis. In terrestrial breathing, no EMG activity in the lateral hypaxial muscles is generally present, and body cavity pressure decreases during exhalation. In aquatic breaths, tidal volume is larger than in terrestrial breaths, and breathing frequency is much lower (approximately 1 breath 10 min(-)(1 )versus 4-6 breaths min(-)(1)). The use of hypaxial muscles to power active exhalation in the aquatic environment may result from the need for more complete exhalation and larger tidal volumes when breathing infrequently. This hypothesis is supported by previous findings that terrestrial frogs ventilate their lungs with small tidal volumes and exhale passively, whereas aquatic frogs and salamanders use large tidal volumes and and exhale actively.

PMID:
10683167
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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