Oxygen and carbon dioxide dissociation curves were constructed for the blood of the Nile monitor lizard, Varanus niloticus, acclimated for 12h at 25 and 35°C. The oxygen affinity of Varanus blood was low when Pco2 w a s in the range of in vivo values (25°C: P50 = 34.3 at PCOCO2 = 21 mmHg; 35°C: P50 = 46.2 mmHg at PCOCO2 = 35 mmHg; 1 mmHg = 133.3 Pa), and the oxygen dissociation curves were highly sigmoidal (Hill's n = 2.97 at 25°C and 3.40 at 35°C). The position of the O2 curves was relatively insensitive to temperature change with an apparent enthalpy of oxygenation (ΔH) of −9.2kJ mol−1. The carbon dioxide dissociation curves were shifted to the right with increasing temperature by decreasing total CCOCO2 at fixed PCOCO2, whereas the state of oxygenation had little effect on total blood CO2 content. The in vitro buffer value of true plasma (Δ[HCO3]pl/-ΔpHpl) rose from 12.0 mequiv pH1−1 at 25°C to 17.5 mequiv pH−11−1 at 35°C, reflecting a reversible increase of about 30% in haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit levels during resting conditions in vivo.

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