Flow from the posterior lymph hearts of Bufo marinus was measured using Doppler flow probes. These probes were placed on the posterior vertebral vein and recorded flow as lymph was ejected from the heart. In resting, hydrated toads, mean lymph flow from one of the paired posterior lymph hearts was 25.9 +/- 4.9 ml kg-1 h-1, stroke volume was 8.9 +/- 1.4 microL kg-1 and lymph heart rate was 47.5 +/- 3.7 beats min-1. We estimate that, together, the paired posterior lymph hearts are capable of generating flows that are approximately one-sixtieth of the resting cardiac output. Mean peak systolic pressure developed by the posterior lymph hearts was 1.62 +/- 0.08 kPa. Simultaneous measurements of lymph heart pressure development and flow revealed that the outflow pore of the heart opened at a pressure of 0.71 +/- 0.04 kPa, approximately 113 +/- 5 ms into systole. When toads were moderately disturbed, stroke volume increased by as much as fourfold with little change in lymph heart rate (< 5 beats min-1). When toads were dehydrated, lymph flow decreased by 70% at 12h and by 80% and 24h. Since there was only a modest non-significant decrease in lymph heart rate (30%), this reduction in flow was attributed to decreases in stroke volume (approximately 80%). Lymph heart flow and stroke volume returned to control values 30 min after adding water back into the experimental chamber. Stroke volume was clearly more important in regulating lymph flow than lymph heart rate under these conditions in Bufo marinus.

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