TitleEffects of flight speed upon muscle activity in hummingbirds
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsTobalske, BW, Biewener, AA, Warrick, DR, Hedrick, TL, Powers, DR
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Type of ArticleJournal Article

{Hummingbirds have the smallest body size and highest wingbeat frequencies of all flying vertebrates, so they represent one endpoint for evaluating the effects of body size on sustained muscle function and flight performance. Other bird species vary neuromuscular recruitment and contractile behavior to accomplish flight over a wide range of speeds, typically exhibiting a U-shaped curve with maxima at the slowest and fastest flight speeds. To test whether the high wingbeat frequencies and aerodynamically active upstroke of hummingbirds lead to different patterns, we flew rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus, 3 g body mass, 42 Hz wingbeat frequency) in a variable-speed wind tunnel (0-10 m s(-1)). We measured neuromuscular activity in the pectoralis (PECT) and supracoracoideus (SUPRA) muscles using electromyography (EMG

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