Metabolic Fates of Evening Crop-Stored Sugar in Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris)
AbstractDuring the day, hummingbirds quickly metabolize floral nectar to fuel high metabolic demands, but are unable to feed at night. Though stored fat is the primary nocturnal metabolic fuel, it has been suggested that hummingbirds store nectar in their crop to offset fat expenditure in the night or to directly fuel their first foraging trip in the morning. We examine the use of crop-stored sugar in the nocturnal energy budget of ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) using respirometry and 13C stable isotope analysis. Hummingbirds were fed a 13C-enriched sugar solution before lights-out and held in respirometry chambers overnight without food. Respirometry results indicate that the hummingbirds metabolized the sugar in the evening meal in less than 2 h, and subsequently primarily catabolized fat. Breath stable isotope signatures provide the key insight that the hummingbirds converted a substantial portion of an evening meal to fats, which they later catabolized to support their overnight metabolism and spare endogenous energy stores. These results show that the value of a hummingbird’s evening meal depends on how much of this energy was converted to fat. Furthermore, this suggests that evening hyperphagia is an important energy maximization strategy, especially during energetically expensive periods such as migration or incubation. View Full-Text
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Eberts, E.R.; Dick, M.F.; Welch, K.C., Jr. Metabolic Fates of Evening Crop-Stored Sugar in Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris). Diversity 2019, 11, 9.
Eberts ER, Dick MF, Welch KC, Jr. Metabolic Fates of Evening Crop-Stored Sugar in Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris). Diversity. 2019; 11(1):9.Chicago/Turabian Style
Eberts, Erich R.; Dick, Morag F.; Welch, Kenneth C., Jr. 2019. "Metabolic Fates of Evening Crop-Stored Sugar in Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris)." Diversity 11, no. 1: 9.
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