Ventilatory physiology of the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus)

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This study examines the ventilatory physiology of the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus), a small to medium-sized (550 g) termitivorous marsupial. Ventilatory parameters at thermoneutrality reflect the slightly low (83% of predicted) basal metabolic rate of the numbat, with ventilation frequency (ƒR; 30.6±3.65 breaths min–1), tidal volume [VT; 6.0±0.66 ml at body temperature and pressure, saturated (BTPS)] and consequently minute volume (VI; 117.7±15.22 ml min–1; BTPS) all being 80–87% of that expected for a marsupial of similar body mass. Oxygen extraction was 27.7±1.37% in the thermoneutral zone. As is typical of marsupials, numbats accommodated increased oxygen consumption rates at ambient temperatures (T a) below the thermoneutral zone by increasing minute volume (up to 411.2±43.98 ml min–1; BTPS at T a=10 °C) rather than oxygen extraction. Minute volume at 10 °C increased more by changes in ventilation frequency (up to 45.5±4.85 breaths min–1) than tidal volume (9.4±1.03 ml, BTPS), as is also typical for a small-medium sized marsupial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-111
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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