Myoglobin Concentrations in the Leg and Breast Muscles of Various Avian Species Representing the Families Anatidae, Colymbidae and Phalocrocoracidae
Ferguson, Douglas S.
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Myoglobin concentration has been correlated to the ability of a muscle to function without a steady supply of oxygen. Myoglobin concentrations were measured in the breast and leg muscles of 22 species of birds primarily from the family, Anatidae, but also from Colymbidae and Phalocrocoracidae using the method of Reynafarje (1963). Average myoglobin concentration was found to be higher in the leg than in the breast. Concentrations in the leg and breast muscles of diving birds were compared to those of non-diving birds. The myoglobin concentration in legs of diving birds was higher than in legs of non-diving birds while there was no significant difference between myoglobin concentrations in breast muscles of diving birds and non-diving birds. Because most diving birds studied were foot-propelled divers, the results of this study indicate that myoglobin concentration is correlated to muscle use during diving.