Diving behaviour, dive cycles and aerobic dive limit in the platypus Ornithorhynchus anatinus.Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2003 Dec; 136(4):799-809.CB
We investigated the diving behaviour, the time allocation of the dive cycle and the behavioural aerobic dive limit (ADL) of platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) living at a sub-alpine Tasmanian lake. Individual platypuses were equipped with combined data logger-transmitter packages measuring dive depth. Mean dive duration was 31.3 s with 72% of all dives lasting between 18 and 40 s. Mean surface duration was 10.1 s. Mean dive depth was 1.28 m with a maximum of 8.77 m. Platypuses performed up to 1600 dives per foraging trip with a mean of 75 dives per hour. ADL was estimated by consideration of post-dive surface intervals vs. dive durations. Only 15% of all dives were found to exceed the estimated ADL of 40 s, indicating mainly aerobic diving in the species. Foraging platypuses followed a model of optimised recovery time, the optimal breathing theory. Total bottom duration or total foraging duration per day is proposed as a useful indicator of foraging efficiency and hence habitat quality in the species.