NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Tolerance of snakes to hypergravitySensitivity of carotid blood flow to increased gravitational force acting in the head-to-tail direction(+Gz) was studied in diverse species of snakes hypothesized to show adaptive variation of response. Tolerance to increased gravity was measured red as the maximum graded acceleration force at which carotid blood flow ceased and was shown to vary according to gravitational adaptation of species defined by their ecology and behavior. Multiple regression analysis showed that gravitational habitat, but not body length, had a significant effect on Gz tolerance. At the extremes, carotid blood flow decreased in response to increasing G force and approached zero near +1 Gz in aquatic and ground-dwelling species, whereas in climbing species carotid flow was maintained at forces in excess of +2 Gz. Tolerant (arboreal) species were able to withstand hypergravic forces of +2 to +3 Gz for periods up to 1 h without cessation of carotid blood flow or loss of body movement and tongue flicking. Data suggest that the relatively tight skin characteristic of tolerant species provides a natural antigravity suit and is of prime importance in counteracting Gz stress on blood circulation.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Lillywhite, H. B. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field CA United States)
Ballard, R. E.
Hargens, A. R.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1996
Publication Information
Publication: Physiological zoology
Volume: 69
Issue: 2
ISSN: 0031-935X
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Cardiopulmonary