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The contribution of nasal receptors to the cardiac response to diving in restrained and unrestrained redhead ducks (Aythya americana)

, : The contribution of nasal receptors to the cardiac response to diving in restrained and unrestrained redhead ducks (Aythya americana). Journal of Experimental Biology 121: 227-238

In restrained redhead ducks, forced submergence caused heart rate to fall from 100 .+-. 3 beats min-1 (mean .+-. S.E.M., N = 12) to a stable underwater rate of 35 .+-. 4 beats min-1 (N = 12) within 5 s after submergence. Bradycardia was unaffected by breathing oxygen before a dive, but was virtually eliminated by local anaesthesia of the narial region. In contrast, in a dabbling duck (Anas platyrhynchos) bradycardia in short dives was eliminated by breathing oxygen before a dive. In unrestrained diving, on a man-made pond, heart rate in redheads diving voluntarily (y) was related to pre-dive heart rate (x) by the equation y = 76 + 0.29 .+-. 0.05x 17 (r2 = 0.71). Chasing, to induce submergence, had variable effects on this relationship. Local anaesthesia of the narial region inhibited voluntary diving but heart rates in chase-induced dives after nasal blockade were significantly higher, by 10-30%, than those obtained from untreated ducks in chase-induced dives. Breathing oxygen before voluntary dives had no apparent effect on heart rate after 2-5 s submergence. Voluntary head submersion by dabbling ducks caused no change in heart rate. We conclude that nasal receptors make only a minor contribution to cardiac responses in unrestrained dives, compared with forced dives, in diving ducks. Furthermore, these results show that little can be learned about cardiac responses in free diving ducks from studies of forced dives in dabblers or divers.


PMID: 3958677

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