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News tips from the May/June issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
Date:5/2/2011

MAY/JUNE PBZ TIPSHEET

  • Giant Hummingbirds: Running a little hot, but not on empty
  • What keeps an asexual fish species from taking over?
  • Small sea birds: Holding heat, rather than cranking up the furnace

For the complete table of contents for the May/June issue, go to journals.uchicago.edu/pbz.


Giant Hummingbirds: Running a little hot, but not on empty

Scientists have long thought that the giant hummingbird (Patagona gigas) was just about as big as a hummingbird could get. They're nearly twice the size of the next largest species, and it was assumed that the energy needed for hovering flight would take the giants close to the upper metabolic limits for an animal that size. Not so, according to a study led by Mara Jos Fernndez of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Pontificia Universidad Catlica de Chile. Fernndez and her colleagues measured the amount of energy burned by giant hummingbirds when hovering and at rest. They also assessed the total amount of energy that the birds use in a day. The research found that giant hummingbirds do use more energy for their body size than smaller hummingbirds do, but they were still well below what is thought to be the upper metabolic limit. The finding suggests that metabolism is not necessarily the constraining factor in the evolution of hummingbird body size.

Mara Jos Fernndez, Robert Dudley, and Francisco Bozinovic, "Comparative Energetics of the Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas).


What keeps an asexual fish species from taking over?

When a red-bellied dace and a finescale dace (freshwater fish in the carp and minnow family) mate with each other, they produce a hybrid with a very special ability: it can reproduce asexually. This asexual hybrid should have a tremendous evolutionary advantage over its sexually repr
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Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
773-834-0386
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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