Allometry of diving capacities: ectothermy vs. endothermy

F. Brischoux*, X. Bonnet, T. R. Cook, R. Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Body mass positively influences diving capacities in air-breathing vertebrates and has been identified as a key determinant for the evolution of diving. Our review on the relationship between body mass and dive duration (a major parameter of dive performances) encompassed for the first time a wide diversity of air-breathing vertebrates. We included a substantial number of nonavian and nonmammalian diving species belonging to various independent lineages (sea snakes, iguana, turtles and crocodiles). Our analyses suggest that the widely accepted size dependency of dive duration applies with significantly less force in ectotherms compared with endotherms; notably we failed to detect any effect of body mass in ectotherms. We hypothesize that the absence of tight physiological links between body mass and respiratory demands documented in ectotherms blurred our ability to detect the expected correlation. Further exploration of the evolution of diving physiology may well necessitate adopting novel perspectives to encompass both ectothermic and endothermic modes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-329
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • allometry
  • diving performances
  • ectothermy
  • endothermy


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