The strange breathing method that turtles have in winter

Burning respiration is very inefficient compared to normal aerobic respiration, and all turtles have the ability to breathe air with their lungs more easily (Reuters)

Everyone knows that Most mammals breathe through their mouths and noses. Meanwhile, frogs can breathe through their skin. But what about turtles? How do these hard-shelled creatures get their oxygen? You may have heard a strange rumor that turtles can breathe from behind. but it’s true?

Technically speaking, turtles have A multi-purpose manhole known as a “cloud”, who – which used for sexual reproduction and laying eggs, As well as to expel waste. howeverThey perform a process called cloacal respiration. Which can be interpreted, in a less technical sense, as Breathing through the anus.

during cloacal breathing, Turtles pump water through their holes into two sac-like organs known as the bursa, which function like water lungs, As explained to Live Science Craig Franklin Wildlife physiologist University of Queensland (Australia) who extensively studied cloacal breathing. oxygen in water Then it spreads through the papillae, the small structures lining the walls of the follicle, And it reaches the turtle’s bloodstream.

However, cloacal breathing It is very ineffective compared to normal aerobic respiration, And all the turtles They also have the ability to breathe air with their lungs more easily. Therefore, cloacal breathing It is only seen in a few freshwater species who rely on this unconventional method to overcome the challenges they face in unique environments where it is difficult to breathe air, such as Fast-flowing rivers or frozen ponds.

Breathing through the anus also has another cost.  When oxygen diffuses through the dermal bursa into the bloodstream, sodium and chloride ions (charged molecules) within the papillae, which are vital to cell function, diffuse in the opposite direction into the water, preventing cells from functioning properly (Reuters)
Breathing through the anus also has another cost. When oxygen diffuses through the dermal bursa into the bloodstream, sodium and chloride ions (charged molecules) within the papillae, which are vital to cell function, diffuse in the opposite direction into the water, preventing cells from functioning properly (Reuters)

The main group of turtles that really dominated The cloacal breathing he is from River turtles. all over the world , There are approximately a dozen river turtles that can successfully use cloacal breathing, Of which About half of them live in the rivers of Australia; Among them Marie river turtle (Elusor macrurus) s The white-throated turtle (Elseya Albagula), to me Franklin.

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however, Some species of river turtles are much better than others at clump breathing. The undisputed hero is Fitzroy River Turtle (Ryudette Lokobes) from Australia, what rYou can get 100% of your energy from cloacal breathing. “This allows them to remain underwater indefinitely,” the expert said.

But for the rest of the species, Spotted breathing only extends the time they can stay underwater until they must return to the surface for air. “For example, instead of being submerged in water for 15 minutes (holding their breath), they can stay under water for several hours,” he added.

The ability to stay underwater for long periods of time It is very useful for river turtles, as flattening can be hard work. “For a turtle live Franklin cautioned that climbing to the surface to breathe is a problem in fast-moving water because you may be swept away. He added: “Spends Near the riverbed is also easy to avoid predators such as crocodiles.”

“For a turtle that lives in fast-moving water, getting up on the surface to breathe is somewhat problematic because it can be swept away. Staying near the riverbed also makes it easier to avoid predators, such as crocodiles” (Reuters)

Avoid predators Especially important for small turtles, It can target birds and big fish. “The greatest danger from predation to a newborn turtle is Swimming through the water column to the surface He said Franklin. thus, Juveniles tend to have much better cloacal breathing than adults, Allowing them to spend more time near the river bed until they are old enough to begin venturing more frequently to the surface. And therefore, It is possible that other species of river turtles are also able to breathe through a cloaca when they are young, But they lose this ability later in life.

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However, the cyanotic breath andIt is much less efficient than aerobic respiration because pumping water into the pouch requires a lot of energy. This reduces the net energy gain the turtles receive. When we breathe air, we practically do not need energy Because the gases are light and flow freely in and out of the lungs,” the specialist explained. “But imagine Try to breathe a sticky liquid from side to side. Water also contains about 200 times less oxygen than an equal volume of air, so lThe turtles have to pump out more to get the same amount of oxygen.”he added.

cloacal breathing It also has another cost. When oxygen diffuses through the dermal bursa into the bloodstream, sodium and chloride ions (charged molecules) within the papillae, which are vital to cell function, diffuse in the opposite direction into the water, preventing the cells from functioning properly. to face himTurtles have developed special pumps that suck lost ions back into cells to maintain normal ion levels. This process, known as The regulation of osmosis requires additional energy, which reduces the net energy gain from cloacal respiration.

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