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Picture of the Day

When it comes to fuel efficiency, size matters for hummingbirds

A new study has found that when it comes to fuel efficiency, bigger is better for hummingbirds. The goal of the study was to explore the link between morphological traits like body mass and wingspan to metabolic rates -- the rate at which the birds consume energy. The research also explored how well hummingbirds turned food energy into motion, also called mechanochemical efficiency. It goes without saying that larger animals need more energy than smaller animals to move, but it's not a 1 to 1 ratio. In other words, an animal that is 100 times larger doesn't require 100 times more energy to move. The study may also help explain why the largest hummingbirds are only so big, which could come down to understanding the efficiency at which hummingbirds can produce mechanical power and how much is needed.

Visit Website | Image credit: Ken Jones/University of Toronto Scarborough