Aerobic respiratory costs of swimming in the negatively buoyant brief squid Lolliguncula brevis

I K Bartol, R Mann, M R Patterson
Journal of Experimental Biology 2001, 204: 3639-53
Because of the inherent inefficiency of jet propulsion, squid are considered to be at a competitive disadvantage compared with fishes, which generally depend on forms of undulatory/oscillatory locomotion. Some squid, such as the brief squid Lolliguncula brevis, swim at low speeds in shallow-water complex environments, relying heavily on fin activity. Consequently, their swimming costs may be lower than those of the faster, more pelagic squid studied previously and competitive with those of ecologically relevant fishes. To examine aerobic respiratory swimming costs, O(2) consumption rates were measured for L. brevis of various sizes (2-9 cm dorsal mantle length, DML) swimming over a range of speeds (3-30 cm s(-1)) in swim tunnel respirometers, while their behavior was videotaped. Using kinematic data from swimming squid and force data from models, power curves were also generated. Many squid demonstrated partial (J-shaped) or full (U-shaped) parabolic patterns of O(2) consumption rate as a function of swimming speed, with O(2) consumption minima at 0.5-1.5 DML s(-1). Power curves derived from hydrodynamic data plotted as a function of swimming speed were also parabolic, with power minima at 1.2-1.7 DML s(-1). The parabolic relationship between O(2) consumption rate/power and speed, which is also found in aerial flyers such as birds, bats and insects but rarely in aquatic swimmers because of the difficulties associated with low-speed respirometry, is the result of the high cost of generating lift and maintaining stability at low speeds and overcoming drag at high speeds. L. brevis has a lower rate of O(2) consumption than the squid Illex illecebrosus and Loligo opalescens studied in swim tunnel respirometers and is energetically competitive (especially at O(2) consumption minima) with fishes, such as striped bass, mullet and flounder. Therefore, the results of this study indicate that, like aerial flyers, some negatively buoyant nekton have parabolic patterns of O(2) consumption rate/power as a function of speed and that certain shallow-water squid using considerable fin activity have swimming costs that are competitive with those of ecologically relevant fishes.

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