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Type: Journal article
Title: Maximum metabolic rate, relative lift, wingbeat frequency and stroke amplitude during tethered flight in the adult locust Locusta migratoria
Author: Snelling, E.
Seymour, R.
Matthews, P.
White, C.
Citation: The Journal of Experimental Biology, 2012; 215(18):3317-3323
Publisher: Company of Biologists Ltd
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 0022-0949
Statement of
Edward P. Snelling, Roger S. Seymour, Philip G. D. Matthews and Craig R. White
Abstract: Flying insects achieve the highest mass-specific aerobic metabolic rates of all animals. However, few studies attempt to maximise the metabolic cost of flight and so many estimates could be sub-maximal, especially where insects have been tethered. To address this issue, oxygen consumption was measured during tethered flight in adult locusts Locusta migratoria, some of which had a weight attached to each wing (totalling 30-45% of body mass). Mass-specific metabolic rate increased from 28±2 μmol O(2) g(-1) h(-1) at rest to 896±101 μmol O(2)g(-1) h(-1) during flight in weighted locusts, and to 1032±69 μmol O(2) g(-1) h(-1) in unweighted locusts. Maximum metabolic rate of locusts during tethered flight (m(O(2)); μmol O(2) h(-1)) increased with body mass (M(b); g) according to the allometric equation m(O(2))=994M(b)(0.75±0.19), whereas published metabolic rates of moths and orchid bees during hovering free flight (h(O(2))) are approximately 2.8-fold higher, h(O(2))=2767M(b)(0.72±0.08). The modest flight metabolic rate of locusts is unlikely to be an artefact of individuals failing to exert themselves, because mean maximum lift was not significantly different from that required to support body mass (95±8%), mean wingbeat frequency was 23.7±0.6 Hz, and mean stroke amplitude was 105±5 deg in the forewing and 96±5 deg in the hindwing - all of which are close to free-flight values. Instead, the low cost of flight could reflect the relatively small size and relatively modest anatomical power density of the locust flight motor, which is a likely evolutionary trade-off between flight muscle maintenance costs and aerial performance.
Keywords: Animals
Locusta migratoria
Body Weight
Basal Metabolism
Oxygen Consumption
Flight, Animal
Wings, Animal
Rights: © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
DOI: 10.1242/jeb.069799
Grant ID:
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