Some species of cranes have extensive coiling of their trachea that substantially increases their anatomical dead space. We subjected individuals of four species of cranes (Anthropoides virgo, Balearica regulorum, Grus grus and Grus Japonensis) to acute heat stress to investigate the effectiveness of this trait as the thermoregulatory adapatation. We measured cloacal temperature, respiratory flow and frequency and arterial pH during normothermic breathing and thermal panting. Extra tracheal length appears to be a helpful but nonessential adaptation to prevent cranes from becoming alkalotic while panting. Cranes in our study had relatively lower panting frequencies and greater tidal volumes than have been reported for other birds subjected to heat stress. Tracheal coiling is probably more important to vocalization than to respiration or thermoregulation. © 1985.
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