The hare and the tortoise: metabolic strategies in cardiac and skeletal muscles of the skink and the chameleon

The Journal of Experimental Zoology
M Guppy, W Davison


Two lizards--a skink capable of fast short dashes, and a chameleon, incapable of fast movement--have been studied to determine the degree of metabolic diversity that exists in this group of reptiles. Oxygen uptake measurements, skeletal muscle histochemistry, and enzyme and metabolite levels in cardiac and skeletal muscles reveal that the skink has a higher metabolic potential, both aerobic and anaerobic, than the chameleon. The difference, however, is not as large as is indicated by the behaviors of the two lizards. Levels of citrate synthase and B-hydroxybutaryl CoA dehydrogenase in the hearts of both the lizards are high and indicate mammalian-level metabolic capabilities.


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