Air-breathing tadpoles of Xenopus laevis (Amphibia: Anura) use buccopharyngeal surfaces for both gas exchange and capture of food particles in the water. In dense food suspensions, tadpoles decrease ventilation of the buccopharynx and increase air breathing. The lung ventilatory frequency is elevated even though the rate of oxygen consumption is at or below resting levels, suggesting that the lung hyperventilation reflects compensation for decreased buccopharyngeal respiration rather than an increased metabolic requirement. If tadpoles in hypoxic water are prevented from breathing air, they increase buccopharyngeal respiration at the expense of feeding. Aerial respiration evidently permits the buccopharyngeal surfaces to be used primarily for food entrapment.

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