Flight Metabolism of Flying Foxes

  • Roger E. Carpenter


Flying foxes (Pteropu poliorephali) of 0. 640 to 0. 800 kg mass have been trained to fly in a wind tunnel at air speeds of 5–8 m s−1, and for periods of over four hours. Masks worn by these bats in flight permit continuous measurement of oxygen consumption by paramagnetic oxygen analyzers and of carbon dioxide production by absorption in Ascarite.

The mean respiratory quotient in flight is 0. 79, indicating that 70% of the caloric expenditure is derived from fat. Metabolism during flight is commonly at least twenty times the standard metia.bolic rate of this species, and is at lowest levels of 52–58 W kg−1 at air speeds of 6–7 m s−1 . Effective lift/ drag ratios calculated from metabolic data are between 6. 3 and 6. 9. The cost of transportation, kcal kg−1 km−1, is one-third higher for this species than predicted for birds of similar size, but lower than the cost of locomotion for terrestrial mammals.


Wind Tunnel Respiratory Quotient Terrestrial Mammal Wing Span Drag Ratio 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger E. Carpenter
    • 1
  1. 1.San Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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