Ecological and life‐history correlates of erythrocyte size and shape in Lepidosauria

Penman, Zachary, Deeming, Charles and Soulsbury, Carl (2022) Ecological and life‐history correlates of erythrocyte size and shape in Lepidosauria. Journal of Evolutionary Biology . ISSN 1010-061X

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/jeb.14004

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Ecological and life‐history correlates of erythrocyte size and shape in Lepidosauria
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Abstract

Blood oxygen-carrying capacity is shaped both by the ambient oxygen availability as well as species-specific oxygen demand. Erythrocytes are a critical part of oxygen transport and both their size and shape can change in relation to species-specific life-history, behavioural or ecological conditions. Here, we test whether components of the environment (altitude), life history (reproductive mode, body temperature) and behaviour (diving, foraging mode) drive erythrocyte size variation in the Lepidosauria (lizards, snakes and rhynchocephalians). We collected data on erythrocyte size (area) and shape (L/W: elongation ratio) from Lepidosauria across the globe (N = 235 species). Our analyses show the importance of oxygen requirements as a driver of erythrocyte size. Smaller erythrocytes were associated with the need for faster delivery (active foragers, high-altitude species, warmer body temperatures), whereas species with greater oxygen demands (diving species, viviparous species) had larger erythrocytes. Erythrocyte size shows considerable cross-species variation, with a range of factors linked to the oxygen delivery requirements being major drivers of these differences. A key future aspect for study would include within-individual plasticity and how changing states, for example, pregnancy, perhaps alter the size and shape of erythrocytes in Lepidosaurs.

Keywords:erythrocyte, tuatara, reptile
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:48932
Deposited On:11 Apr 2022 15:30

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