Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Among factors necessary for an animal to maintain life is the presence of an oxygen carrier that will transport a sufficient quantity of oxygen necessary for respiratory metabolism. In animals whose blood contains hemoglobin, which is a pigment that loads and unloads oxygen, this carrying capacity is referred to as blood oxygen capacity. It is a measure of the amount of oxygen that will combine with whole blood when completely mixed with air. It is usually expressed in volumes per cent (ml. 02/100 ml. blood) and corrected to standard temperature and pressure.

A search of available literature revealed that there were very few reports of total blood oxygen capacity values in reptiles. The only two reports in turtles were of 8 of the aquatic form Pseudemys concinna Le Conte with an oxygen capacity range of 6.6 to 10.8 volumes per cent (Southworth and Redfield, 1926) and of 3 specimens of Pseudemys troostii Holbrook with a mean oxygen capacity of 6.7 volumes per cent (Wilson, 1939). In a series of investigations of the physiological properties of reptilian blood by Dill and Edwards (1935), the blood from eleven alligators was pooled into five blood samples. The mean oxygen capacity was 6.7 volumes per cent. Hopping (1923) reported a range of 9.5 to 15.3 volumes per cent for six alligators. Dill and Edwards (1931) found an oxygen capacity range of 8 to 10 volumes per cent in three crocodiles. The blood of Gila Monsters was treated by Edwards and Dill (1935) in a similar manner as they treated the alligator blood. The blood from thirty-one Gila Monsters was pooled into eleven samples, which had a mean of 7.6 volumes per cent.

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