1. 1.

    Blood pressure was measured in the dorsal aorta of restrained, unanaesthetized tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) at different body temperatures during graded, passive tilt. Aortic blood pressure in horizontal snakes showed no significant change over a range of body temperatures between 18 and 33 degrees C (mean of measurements on 16 snakes = 42.2 +/− I.98 mmHg), while heart rate increased logarithmically (Q10 approximately 2.5). Blood pressure was stable during heating and cooling between body temperatures of 15 and 30 degrees C, but the pressure was 10--50% higher during heating than during cooling. 2. Head-up tilt usually caused a brief fall in pressure at heart level followed by partial or complete recovery and tachycardia. At the cessation of tilt, there was a characteristic overshoot of the blood pressure followed by readjustment to control (pretilt) levels. Head-down tilt typically increased pressure which then either stabilized or returned toward pretilt levels. Heart rate changes during head-down tilt were not consistent in direction or magnitude. Stabilized pressures at mid-body usually increased following head-up tilt and decreased following head-down tilt, indicating physiological adjustment to posture change. Blood pressure control was evident at body temperatures ranging from 10 to 38 degrees C, but was most effective at the higher and behaviourally preferred temperatures. 3. Propranolol lowered heart rate but did not influence pressure in horizontal snakes. During head-up tilt propranolol eliminated or reduced tachycardia and sometimes reduced the efficacy of pressure compensation for tilt. Phentolamine increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and eliminated pressure regulation during tilt. The results suggest that sympathetically mediated reflexes assist central blood pressure regulation in the tiger snake, with vasomotor adjustments having greater importance than changes in heart rate.

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