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Animal Physiology Index

Muscle contraction
The Nerve Impluse
The Synapse
The Major Factors controlling the Heartbeat
Defence Against Disease
Reproduction
Digestion
The Alimentary Canal or Gut

Topic Chapters Index

 

Bird flight

  • Feathers: Stiff flight feathers extend the surface area of the arm to produce an aerofoil wing.

  • Stiff tail feathers control direction and velocity (air braking on landing).

  • Body feathers insulate providing protection at high altitude and conserve body heat to maintain a high metabolic rate.

  • Well developed chest muscles to power the wings.

  • Keel bone projects from thorax to attach flight muscles.

  • Hollow air-filled bones provide strength but remain light.

  • A horny beak is lighter than jaws and teeth.

  • Air sacs in the abdomen permit breathed air to travel twice through the lung tissues.

  • Haemoglobin with a high affinity for oxygen permits flight at high altitude.

  • The embryo develops externally in a shelled egg. Female birds are not weighed down by pregnancy.

ANIMAL PHYSIOLOGY

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The Nervous System and Movement

Movement in Animals

The Earthworm

  • Belong to the phylum Annelida, the ringed worms.

  • They have a hydrostatic skeleton - muscles work against a fluid filled sac, the coelom.

  • The body of worms is adapted to burrowing, streamlined with no limbs.

  • The body plan is segmented.

  • Circular blocks of muscles are present in each segment.

  • Longitudinal muscles run the length of the body.

  • Chaetae (bristles), 8 per segment, with retractor muscles project from the body providing traction.

Movement consists of:

  • Extension: the circular muscles contract, squeezing the body forwards and the longitudinal muscles relax.

  • Anchoring: The chaetae project and grip the substrate.

  • Contraction: The longitudinal muscles contract and the circular muscles relax, pulling the body forwards.

 

The Arthropods

  • Exoskeleton made of chitin - reinforced with calcium in crustaceans.

  • Limbs segmentally arranged.

  • Flexible joints permit movement.

  • Antagonistic muscles attach inside the tubular limbs.

  • Flexors and extensors are on the opposite sides of the limb to a vertebrate with its endoskeleton.

  • Movement is programmed by the nervous system.

  • Movement can be very fast (a cockroach can run at 1ms-1).

  • Legs rise and fall in sequence down one side - a locomotory wave.

  • Alternating locomotory waves pass on each side of the body.

  • Evolution of the arthropods has resulted in a reduction of limbs:

    Crustacea 10 pairs

    Arachnida 4 pairs

    Insecta 3 pairs

 

The Bony Fish

  • Streamlined shape for cutting through water.

  • Bony skeleton for support of muscles.

  • Myotome muscle blocks flex the body, especially the tail.

  • Anal and dorsal fins control roll.

  • pectoral (front) and pelvic (back) fins control pitch (up-down) and yaw (side to side)

  • Caudal (tail) fin provides thrust.

  • Swim bladder provides neutral buoyancy.

  • Lateral line organ detects changes in pressure so it can indicate the depth.

 

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