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Electronic Journal of Polish Agricultural Universities (EJPAU) founded by all Polish Agriculture Universities presents original papers and review articles relevant to all aspects of agricultural sciences. It is target for persons working both in science and industry,regulatory agencies or teaching in agricultural sector. Covered by IFIS Publishing (Food Science and Technology Abstracts), ELSEVIER Science - Food Science and Technology Program, CAS USA (Chemical Abstracts), CABI Publishing UK and ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publisher - full membership). Presented in the Master List of Thomson ISI.

Volume 11
Issue 2
Topic:
ELECTRONIC
JOURNAL OF
POLISH
AGRICULTURAL
UNIVERSITIES
. , EJPAU 11(2), #27.
Available Online: http://www.ejpau.media.pl/volume11/issue2/art-27.html


 

ABSTRACT

Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca, belongs to the duck family Anatidae. There is a relevant heart structure differentiation among that group of birds. The aim of the study was to evaluate basic parameters of body and heart structure of Velvet Scoters living at the Baltic sea. The research determined significant correlations between heart structures (ventricles weight) parameters. We established indexes which may be applied for comparative filogenetic and morphologic studies. The presented study extends present knowledge regarding the anatomic heart structure of wild birds in correlation with their lifestyle.

Key words: .

INTRODUCTION

Among 9800 bird species [6], 150 belong to the order Anseriformes, while 98% belong to the suborder Anseres and family Anatidae. Those individuals, except some common features, are different in term of their lifestyle. This includes: the way of flying, nourishment, its acquiring and places of feeding. Ducks can be divided into three ecological groups of birds: phytophagous, omnivorous and plungers.

Velvet Scoter belongs to plungers, which is able to plunge 30 meters deep to capture the nourishment [6]. It is a bird which may migrate for a distance of 200 – 5000 km [6,11,12]. Velvet Scoter body length range from 45 do 58 cm, body weight 1200 to 1794 g and spread of wings range from 90 to 100 cm [6].

Plunging is a special ability resulting from evolutionary, anatomical and physiological adaptations. Accelerated heart beating and increased ventilation allow for the oxygen supply to the body organs, during the process of plunging. It allows for deeper and longer under water stay. Experiments made on penguins showed differences in the heart structure between the birds which plunge shallow and deep [10].

There is very few detailed descriptions of birds heart structure in the literature. Authors usually show correlations between heart and body structure. Relations between heart and body weight were described by Hartman [13] and Brush [5]. The correlation between the heart weight and spread of wings were shown by Viscor and Fuster [19].

The aim of the present research was to evaluate correlation between anatomic heart structure as well as circulatory system and bird’s adaptation to different environmental lifestyle.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

The research was conducted on 26 Velvet Scoters. The birds were gained between 1995 and 2002 year from fishing bases in neighborhoods of Dziwnow, Swinoujscie, Miedzyzdroje, Miedzywodzie and Wiselka at coast of Baltic Sea. We determined taxonomy, age and sex of the birds delivered to the laboratory. Subsequently ducks were weighed (BW) on Pesola balance with precision to 50 g. The absolute body length (BL) was measured by yardstick with precision to 5 mm from the end of the rostrum bridge to the end of the rump. The measure of the length of sternum (SL) was done by slide caliper with 0.1 mm accuracy from the process of sternal crest to the end of middle sterna trabecula. Similarly, measure of the tarsometatarsus length (JL) was made by slide caliper with precision to 0.1 mm from the proximal epiphysis of the bones talus – metatarsal to the trochlea of talus.

The hearts were dissected, rinsed off the blood and dried on blotting paper. The pericardium was removed and then the main blood vessels were cut accordingly to the methods by Drabek, Tremblay and Viscor [8,9,10,20]. Afterwards, hearts were fixed in 10% formaldehyde solution. The preserved hearts were studied anatomically as well as morphologically more than six weeks later. The heart height (HH), width (HW) and girth (HC) were measured by slide caliper with precision to 0.1 millimeter. The weight of (RL), right (RV) and left (LV) ventricles were determined.

In the present work we accepted bird’s anatomical nomenclature according to the elaboration of Baumel et al. [4].

RESULTS

Among the four performed measurements characterizing Velvet Scoter bodies, only in case of body length (BL) the significant difference between males and females were not found. Males were heavier, possess longer sternum and tarsometatarsus (Table 1). Pictures show Velvet Scoter’s heart at atrial surface (Fig. 1), auricular surface (Fig. 2) and forthright of right ventricle (Fig. 3).

Table 1. Characteristics of the absolute body and heart size of the Velvet Scoter adult males and females

Parameter

♂ vs. ♀

X ± SD

V

X ± SD

V

n = 14

n = 12

Parameters of body

BW (g)
body weight

2016 ± 164
(1745 – 2290)

8.13

1776 ± 144
(1510 – 1980)

8.10

t = 3.9
p ≤ 0.01

BL(mm)
body length

485 ± 8
(470 – 500)

1.64

474 ± 25
(445 – 540)

5.27

NS

SL (mm)
sternum length

112.8 ± 3.9
(105.0 – 118.4)

3.45

108.5 ± 4.0
(101.0 – 114.0)

3.66

t = 3.02
p ≤ 0.01

JL (mm)
tarsometatarsus
length

49.0 ± 1.1
(47.3 – 50.5)

2.16

47.2 ± 1.4
(45.5 – 50.3)

3.07

t = 3.78
p ≤ 0.01

Parameters of heart

H (g)
heart weight

16.38 ± 1.93
(11.78 – 19.94)

11.78

13.99 ± 1.14
(11.92 – 15.73)

8.15

t = 3.76
p ≤ 0.01

HH (mm)
heart height

48.0 ± 2.9
(42.0 – 53.4)

6.04

46.0 ± 2.3
(42.8 – 49.9)

5.00

NS

HW (mm)
heart width

34.5 ± 2.7
(29.7 – 39.9)

7.82

33.5 ± 2.0
(31.2 – 38.6)

5.97

NS

HC (mm)
heart girth

90.1 ± 5.6
(80.0 – 98.0)

6.21

85.9 ± 3.0
(82.0 – 90.0)

3.49

t = 2.34
p ≤ 0.05

RL * (g)

13.86 ± 1.73
(9.59 – 16.82)

12.48

11.96 ± 1.02
(10.01 – 13.51)

8.53

t = 3.32
p ≤ 0.01

RV ** (g)

3.12 ± 0.41
(2.35 – 3.65)

13.14

2.72 ± 0.22
(2.33 – 3.02)

8.09

t = 3.02
p ≤ 0.01

LV *** (g)

10.74 ± 1.38
(7.25 – 13.39)

12.84

9.24 ± 0.84
(7.59 – 10.61)

9.09

t = 3.26
p ≤ 0.01

X, mean values; SD, standard deviation; V, coefficient of variability; n, number of observations; RL*, mass of right and left ventricles, interventricular septum and both of atrioventricular valves; RV**, mass of front wall of right ventricle; LV***, mass of left ventricle with consideration interventricular septum, back wall, and both of atrioventricular valves; range of variation in parentheses

Fig. 1. Heart of Velvet Scoter were fixed in 10% formaldehyde solution (1. left ventricle ventriculus sinister; 2. right ventricle ventriculus dexter; 3. subsinuosal interventricular groove sulcus interventricularis subsinuosus; 4. coronary groove sulcus coronarius; view – atrial surface facies atrialis)

Fig. 2. Heart of Velvet Scoter were fixed in 10% formaldehyde solution (1. left ventricle ventriculus sinister; 2. right ventricle ventriculus dexter; 3. paraconal interventricular groove sulcus interventricularis paraconalis; 4. coronary groove sulcus coronarius; view – auricular surface facies auricularis)

Fig. 3. Cavum of left ventricle of heart of Velvet Scoter were fixed in 10% formaldehyde solution (1. right ventricle ventriculus dexter; 2. subsinuosal interventricular groove sulcus interventricularis subsinuosus; 3. coronary groove sulcus coronarius; view – atrial surface facies atrialis)

In case of five (HH, HC, RL, RV, LV) among seven parameters describing heart size we found bigger for males then females. However significant differences were determined only in case of heart height (HH) and width (HW) – Table 1.

Table 2 shows parameters characterizing the heart size for adult males, females and both sexes together. There were no significant differences between sexes regarding the described parameters.

In order to determine relations between body and heart parameters, the proper linear correlation indexes were established (Table 3). We discovered significant correlations in group of heart size parameters. The highest value was found in relation between both ventricles weight and weight of left ventricle (RL – LV: r = 0.99) as well as in relation between heart weight and weight of both ventricle (H – RL: r = 0.96) and left ventricle (H – LV: r = 0.95).

Table 2. Characteristics of the relative heart size of Velvet Scoter adult males and females

Parameter

♀ + ♂

♂ vs. ♀

X ± SD

V

X ± SD

V

X ± SD

V

n = 14

n = 12

n = 26

H/BW (%)

0.81 ± 0.07
(0.66 – 0.90)

8.64

0.79 ± 0.07
(0.66 – 0.89)

8.86

0.80 ± 0.07
(0.66 – 0.90)

8.75

NS

HH/HW

1.39 ± 0.09
(1.30 – 1.59)

6.47

1.38 ± 0.10
(1.23 – 1.54)

7.24

1.39 ± 0.09
(1.23 – 1.59)

6.47

NS

RV/H (%)

19.05 ± 1.45
(16.22 – 20.72)

7.61

19.47 ± 1.05
(18.14 – 20.99)

5.39

19.25 ± 1.27
(16.22 – 20.99)

6.60

NS

RV/LV (%)

29.12 ± 2.33
(25.10 – 32.38)

8.00

29.50 ± 1.87
(27.32 – 33.53)

6.33

29.29 ± 2.10
(25.10 – 33.53)

7.17

NS

X, mean values; SD, standard deviation; V, coefficient of variability; n, number of observations; BW, body weight; H, heart weight; HH; heart height HW, heart width; RV, mass of front wall of right ventricle; LV, mass of left ventricle with consideration interventricular septum, back wall, and both of atrioventricular valves; range of variation in parentheses

Table 3. Indexes of linear correlation between body and heart parameters of Velvet Scoter adult males and females

Parameter

BL

SL

JL

H

HH

HW

HC

RL

RV

LV

BW

NS

0.57
p ≤ 0.01

0.56
p ≤ 0.01

0.74
p ≤ 0.01

0.59
p ≤ 0.01

NS

0.41
p ≤ 0.05

0.64
p ≤ 0.01

0.55
p ≤ 0.01

0.65
p ≤ 0.01

BL

 

0.43
p ≤ 0.05

NS

0.393
p ≤ 0.05

NS

NS

NS

NS

NS

NS

SL

   

0.62
p ≤ 0.01

NS

NS

NS

NS

NS

NS

NS

JL

     

0.51
p ≤ 0.01

NS

NS

NS

0.45
p ≤ 0.05

0.44
p ≤ 0.05

0.44
p ≤ 0.05

H

       

0.71
p ≤ 0.01

0.64
p ≤ 0.01

0.73
p ≤ 0.01

0.96
p ≤ 0.01

0.87
p ≤ 0.01

0.95
p ≤ 0.01

HH

         

0.52
p ≤ 0.01

0.52
p ≤ 0.01

0.67
p ≤ 0.01

0.75
p ≤ 0.01

0.63
p ≤ 0.01

HW

           

0.44
p ≤ 0.05

0.52
p ≤ 0.01

0.57
p ≤ 0.01

0.49
p ≤ 0.05

HC

             

0.69
p ≤ 0.01

0.75
p ≤ 0.01

0.65
p ≤ 0.01

RL

               

0.91
p ≤ 0.01

0.99
p ≤ 0.01

RV

                 

0.86
p ≤ 0.01

BW, body weight; BL, body length; SL, sternum length; JL, tarsometatarsus length; H, heart weight; HH, heart height; HW,
heart width; HC, heart girth; RL, mass of right and left ventricles, interventricular septum and both of atrioventricular
valves; RV, mass of front wall of right ventricle; p, significance level; NS, differences not significant

Among body parameters, we found significant correlation between body weight (BW) and heart weight (HW), heart height (HH), heart girth (HC), heart parts (RL, RV, LV).

Tarsometatarsus length (JL) was correlated only with parameters of the heart weight and its parts H, RL, RV, LV). There was no significant difference between sternum length and heart parameters.

DISCUSSION

Among examined ducks, Velvet Scoter had the biggest body weight. Relations between heart and body weights are presented by relative heart weight H/BW (percent of body weight) and proper allometric equations.

Relative heart weight of big birds (over 1000g) equals 0,85% [5,13,14]. This value depends on latitude, climate, activity and lifestyle. Relative heart weight of Anseriformes, usually remains around 1% of body weight. The research regarding the swan, Cygnus olor (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) showed the relative heart weight equals 1.03% [19]. High heart weight (around 0.9% of body weight) of Anseriformes, is related with low body weight of the species as well as with the birds need for efficient circulatory system allowing them for long and deep plunging. The example of Velvet Scoter seems to be proper as the relative heart weight of the bird remains around level of 0.80%.

The present studies of wild bird’s population of Velvet Scoter show major differences among relative and absolute parameters. The HH/HW ratio (heart height to heart weight) for examined birds equaled 1.33 (for Long-tailed Duck), 1.39 (for Velvet Scoter) and 1.50 (Bean Goose) [1,2,3].

The participation of right ventricle in heart weight (RV/H index) changes for each species in range from 18.10 to 20.34%. The lowest value of that index was found for Long-tailed Duck [3], while the highest was found for Bean Goose (unpublished data). For Velvet Scoter the index equaled 19,25%. The index showing the percentage ratio of right to left ventricle weight of the examined animals remained in the range of 27.16 – 31.64%.

The value of above mentioned index equal 31.64 for Bean Goose (unpublished data), 29.29 for Velvet Scoter, and 27.16 for Long-tailed Duck [3]. Nevertheless the species differ not only by anatomic parameters, like the body or heart weight, but also by special behaving. They act on different way, fly differently, some of them like Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck are perfect plungers.

CONCLUSIONS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors thanks Mrs E. Kalisińska and Mr. P. Mysłek for their constructive help. This work was supported by Grant DZ 5/98 of Agricultural University of Szczecin.

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Accepted for print: 30.06.2008



Responses to this article, comments are invited and should be submitted within three months of the publication of the article. If accepted for publication, they will be published in the chapter headed 'Discussions' and hyperlinked to the article.


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