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Abstract

We examined several morphological parameters of the gastrointestinal tract, digesta passage rates, and nutrient assimilation efficiencies of Green-striped Burrowing frogs (Cyclorana alboguttata) following prolonged fasting during three months of aestivation and compared these with frogs that had been continuously fed. Whole animal digesta passage rates were significantly reduced following three months aestivation as a result of a decreased digesta evacuation rate from the stomach. Furthermore, food was selectively retained in the small intestine for an increased time following three months of aestivation. Overall digestibility of food and nitrogen, carbon, and energy extraction efficiencies were not significantly different from control values following three months of aestivation. These findings suggest that C. alboguttata employs reduced digesta passage rates so as to maximize nutrient assimilation efficiency following prolonged food deprivation during aestivation. J. Exp. Zool. 300A:126–132, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.