Ontogenetic effects on aerobic and anaerobic metabolism during jumping in the American locust, Schistocerca americana

Scott D. Kirkton, Jared A. Niska, Jon Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Developing vertebrates increase both their locomotory power output and endurance due to ontogenetic improvements in anaerobic and aerobic metabolic capacities. Do similar patterns hold for insect locomotion, or do longer tracheal lengths create problems for oxygen delivery in older animals? We forced developing American locust grasshoppers (Schistocerca americana) to jump repeatedly and examined the effect of development on power output, endurance, lactate concentration, oxygen consumption and the oxygen sensitivity of jump performance. As previously shown, power outputs, relative leg lengths and leg cuticular content increased with age. A key finding of this study is that both lactate concentration and aerobic metabolic rate of the jumping muscle increase with age, explaining how the increased leg cuticular stiffness can result in increased power output. After two minutes of jumping, grasshoppers rely completely on aerobic ATP production. The rise in mass-specific, active aerobic metabolic rates with age indicates that problems with longer tracheae can be overcome; however, the reduced endurance, higher lactate concentrations and increased oxygen sensitivity of locomotory performance in older animals indicate that larger/older grasshoppers have smaller safety margins for oxygen delivery during hopping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3003-3012
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Development
  • Endurance
  • Grasshopper
  • Lactate
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Power output
  • Schistocerca americana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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