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    Description

    Gliding allows mammals to exploit canopy habitats of old-growth forests possibly as a means to save energy. To assess costs of quadrupedal locomotion for a gliding arboreal mammal, we used open-flow respirometry and a variable-speed treadmill to measure oxygen consumption and to calculate cost of transport, excess exercise oxygen consumption, and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption for nine northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) and four fox squirrels (Sciurus niger). The observations suggest that unlike fox squirrels, flying squirrels are poorly adapted to prolonged bouts of quadrupedal locomotion. The evolution of skeletal adaptations to climbing, leaping, and landing and the development of a gliding membrane likely has increased the cost of quadrupedal locomotion by >50% while resulting in energy savings during gliding and reduction in travel time between foraging patches.

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    Citation

    Flaherty, Elizabeth A.; Ben-David, Merav; Smith, Winston P. 2010. Quadrupedal locomotor performance in two species of arboreal squirrels: predicting energy savings of gliding. Journal of Comparative Physiology B. [Online]. DOI 10.1007/s00360-010-0470-1.

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    Keywords

    cost of transport, dispersal, energetic, Glaucomys sabrinus, respirometry, Sciurus niger

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