Mechanism of pellet egestion in great-horned owls (Bubo virginianus).

G. E. Duke, O. A. Evanson, P. T. Redig, D. D. Rhoades

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To study the mechanism of oral pellet egestion in great-horned owls, bipolar electrodes and strain-gauge transducers were chronically implanted in the esophagus, muscular stomach, and duodenum of six owls. Recordings from conscious owls plus simultaneous radiographic observations revealed characteristic gastrointestinal motility patterns associated with egestion. Beginning at about 12 min before egestion, gastric contractions formed the final shape of the pellet and pushed it into the lower esophagus. The pellet was moved out of the esophagus by antiperistalsis during the last 8--10 s before egestion. During pellet egestion, contractions of abdominal muscles were not detected. Pellet egestion appears to be unlike either emesis in mammals with a simple stomach or regurgitation in ruminants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1824-1829
Number of pages6
JournalThe American journal of physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1976


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