Ontogenetic comparisons of standard metabolism in three species of crocodilians

C. M. Gienger, Matthew L. Brien, Christopher R. Tracy, S. Charlie Manolis, Grahame J W Webb, Roger S. Seymour, Keith A. Christian

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    Due in part to their large size, aggressive temperament, and difficulty in handling, there are few physiological studies of adult crocodilians in the literature. As a result, studies comparing individuals across an ontogenetic series and comparisons among species are also lacking. We addressed this gap in knowledge by measuring standard metabolic rates (SMR) of three species of crocodilians (Crocodylus porosus, C. johnsoni, and Alligator mississippiensis), and included individuals that ranged from 0.22 to 114 kg. Allometric scaling of SMR with body mass was similar among the species, but C. porosus had significantly higher SMR than did C. johnsoni or A. mississippiensis. Differences in SMR among species are potentially related to behavioural differences in levels of aggression; C. porosus are the most aggressive of the crocodilians measured, and have rates of standard metabolism that are approximately 36% higher at the grand mean body size than those measured for C. johnsoni or A. mississippiensis, which are among the least aggressive crocodilians.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0171082
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Number of pages7
    JournalPLoS One
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2017


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