On flying insect size and Phanerozoic atmospheric oxygen

  title={On flying insect size and Phanerozoic atmospheric oxygen},
  author={Graham E. Dorrington},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  pages={E3393 - E3393}
  • G. Dorrington
  • Published 5 November 2012
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
In a recent article in PNAS, Clapham and Karr (1) related the maximum wing length (MWL) of different Odonatoptera and Orthoptera species to Phanerozoic atmospheric oxygen partial pressure (pO2) as predicted by the GEOCARBSULF model (2). They argued that the MWL data assigned to 10-Myr periods is well correlated with elevated Paleozoic pO2 levels, but that the correlation weakens and is ultimately decoupled during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. To explain the correlation, they assumed that maximum… 
Heavily loaded flight and limits to the maximum size of dragonflies (Anisoptera) and griffenflies (Meganisoptera)
An analysis of the scaling of the required flight power and available muscle power is presented and it is found that for living Anisoptera and fossil Odonatoptera, there are different limiting sizes, above which the required specific flight power would exceed the available muscle specific power.
Reply to Dorrington: Oxygen concentration and predator escape abilities are important controls on insect size
It is argued that oxygen is not an important control on insect size and that selective pressure for maneuverability and predator escape is not inversely related to body size, but the hypothesis that controls on maximum insect size shifted from environmental to biotic following the evolution of flying predators like birds is stood by.
Phylogenetic analyses suggest that diversification and body size evolution are independent in insects
The results indicate that within hexapods, and within the limits of current systematic and phylogenetic knowledge, insect diversification is generally unfettered by size-biased macro-evolutionary processes, and that these processes over large timescales tend to converge on apparently neutral evolutionary processes.


Environmental and biotic controls on the evolutionary history of insect body size
The decoupling of insect size and atmospheric pO2 coincident with the radiation of birds suggests that biotic interactions, such as predation and competition, superseded oxygen as the most important constraint on maximum body size of the largest insects.
Maximum Lift Production During Takeoff in Flying Animals
Interspecific differences in short-duration powered flight and takeoff ability are shown to be caused primarily by differences in flight muscle ratio, which ranges from 0.115 to 0.560 among species studied to date.
Phanerozoic atmospheric oxygen: New results using the GEOCARBSULF model
  • R. Berner
  • Geology
    American Journal of Science
  • 2009
Modifications of the GEOCARBSULF model for Phanerozoic atmospheric oxygen have been made to account for new carbon isotopic data, reconsideration of the fractionation of carbon isotopes between
The effects of ambient air pressure on oxygen consumption of resting and hovering honeybees
  • P. Withers
  • Chemistry
    Journal of comparative physiology
  • 2004
Summary1.The rate of oxygen consumption for honeybees hovering at normal air pressure was 94.3 ml O2 g−1 h−1. The rate of oxygen consumption declined for honeybees hovering at higher air pressures,