Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 277–288 | Cite as

Anaerobic metabolism during activity in lizards

  • Albert F. Bennett
  • Paul Licht


A new technique developed for the determination of total lactate production in small animals was used to evaluate the role of anaerobiosis during activity at different temperatures in lizards. Measurements on six species of small lizards indicate little interspecific variation or thermal effect in resting lactate levels (0.35 mg lactate/g body weight) or maximal lactate levels achieved at exhaustion (1.4 mg lactate/g). Normally activeAnolis in captivity had a lactate content of 0.5 mg lactate/g. Rates of lactate formation were most rapid during the first 30 sec of activity and had a low thermal dependence (Q10=1.1–1.3 above 20 °C). The lactate formed during activity persists for long periods; e.g., for 30 to 60 min between 20 and 37 °C inAnolis carolinensis (Fig. 1). Recovery rate generally increases with temperature. Muscle lactate concentrations peak at the end of activity, but liver and blood lactate are not maximal until 10 and 30 min, respectively, after activity (Fig. 2). The decrease in the blood lactate is shown to be a poor estimator of total recovery. An estimated 80–90% of the total energy utilized during initial vigorous activity comes from anaerobic sources. Because of its low thermal dependence, anaerobiosis permits high levels of activity in lizards at all body temperatures without requiring high levels of aerobic resting metabolism.


Lactate Recovery Rate Blood Lactate Lactate Level Lactate Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert F. Bennett
    • 1
  • Paul Licht
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley

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