An integrative study of the temperature dependence of whole animal and muscle performance during jumping and swimming in the frog Rana temporaria

J Comp Physiol B. 1999 Dec;169(8):588-96. doi: 10.1007/s003600050259.


The aims of this study were: (1) to analyze individual variation in frog locomotor performance, (2) to compare the thermal sensitivity of jumping and swimming, and (3) to contrast whole animal versus muscle fiber performance at different temperatures. The jumping and swimming performance of Rana temporaria was analyzed at 5, 10, 15 and 20 degrees C. Muscle fiber bundles were isolated from lateral gastrocnemius and subjected to the length and activation patterns thought to occur in vivo. As temperature increased, locomotor performance in R. temporaria improved with a Q10 of 1.2 for both jump take-off velocity and mean swimming velocity. The slope of the relationship between performance and temperature (TE) was similar for both locomotor parameters and was described by the equation z-scores of locomotor performance = 0.127 x TE - 1.585. Although some frogs performed better than others relative performance was affected by locomotor type and temperature. Locomotor performance improved with temperature as the power required during take-off and the mean muscle power output increased with Q10 values of 1.7 and 1.6 respectively. The mean muscle power output during take-off was only 34% of the calculated requirements for the whole animal, suggesting the involvement of elastic strain energy storage mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Organ Size
  • Rana temporaria / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology
  • Temperature*