The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 03. Aerial and aquatic respiration in the black rayed softshell turtle Amyda cartilaginea


Open Access


Authors: John Davenport And Tat Meng Wong

Abstract: Black-rayed softshell turtles (Amyda cartilaginea) from Malaysia were shown to be capable of extracting oxygen from water by a combination of cutaneous and buccopharyngeal respiration. Given access to air as well as water they consumed a mean 81 ml 02 g·1h-1; when submerged and respiring aquatically the uptake fell to a mean value of 21 ml 02 g·1h·1 (ratio 3.86:1 ). Behavioural data show that the turtles cannot survive indefinitely by aquatic respiration alone as they incur an oxygen debt, even when inactive. Scope for activity is substantially reduced, even when air becomes available, until the oxygen debt is repaid. Buccopharyngeal respiration is a normal feature of behaviour, and is not used solely during prolonged submergence. The turtles pump some 40-80 ml water min-' through the pharynx at 30ºC. Turtles display dilated cutaneous blood vessels when they are submerged for long periods.


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