Blood samples of the Mediterranean pine vole (Microtus duodecimcostatus de Sélys-Longchamps) were anaiysed to determine blood buffering capabilities and some parameters of the blood respiratory system. Specimens were live-trapped in an orange orchard in Monte Gordo (Algarve, Portugal). The low values of the oxygen pressure and oxygen saturation of the blood, obtained in anesthetized voles, combined with the high levels of the carbon dioxide pressure, bicarbonate and 2,3-diphosphoglycerate found, appear to reflect no dificulties in the delivery of oxygen to the tissues and efficient blood buffering capacity under hypoxic-hypercapnic stress. This mechanism is expected to be useful for the living in a subterranean environment where these voles spend almost their entire iiie.
Microtus, Eco-physiology, Blood oxygen affinity, Western Mediterranean
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