Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Final highlights from the 2019 Arizona Physiological Society conference


Here are some additional comparative physiology highlights from the 2019 Arizona Physiological Society poster session:

Photo of Gambel’s quail by Kevin Bondelli via Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at Arizona State University compared the physiology of Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii) living in urbanized and less developed areas. They found that birds living in more urbanized areas were larger and had more circulating lipids than birds living in areas that were less developed. (A Funk, P Hutton, S Earl, P Deviche, and K Sweazea. Effects of urbanization on morphology and nutritional physiology of Gambel’s quail, Callipepla gambelii. Arizona State University)

Parts of Argentina have been swarmed by a South American locust, Schistocerca cancellata, pictured here in Santiago Del Estero province. It is not found in North America.

Image of South American locusts via

Measuring the respiratory quotient (RQ) of an animal can provide information about what fuels it is using to produce energy. A value closer to 0.7 indicates fat use whereas a value closer to 1.0 indicates carbohydrate use. While RQ values are typically thought to only range from 0.7-1.0, researchers at Arizona State University showed that the RQ value could actually increase above 1 in locusts that are eating a lot of carbohydrates as those carbohydrates get converted to fats. (S Talal, A Cease, J Harrison. High carbohydrate diets increase respiratory quotients above 1 in locusts. Arizona State University)

I am pretty sure my RQ was well above 1.0 on Halloween…

Photo of a crayfish by Thomas Seip via Wikimedia Commons

Lastly, researchers at Arizona State University found that crayfish are able to regenerate their claws if lost in a battle. Although, the regenerated claws were not as strong as the original. (Z Graham, M Angilletta. The offense and defense of a regenerated weapon. Arizona State University)

Categories: Climate Change, Diet and Exercise, Extreme Animals, Physiology on the Road, Urbanization

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