Muscle architecture of the forelimb of the Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus) (Aves: Phasianidae) and its implications for functional capacity in flight

Yan Yang, Huan Wang, Zihui Zhang
2015 Avian Research  
Flight is the central avian adaptation in evolution. Wing muscles form an important anatomical basis for avian flight, affecting wing performance and determine modes of flight. However, the roles of distal muscles in adjusting the wing, as well as their functional specializations, remain largely unknown. The importance of muscle fiber architecture has long been recognized. In this study, we provide quantitative anatomical data on the muscle architecture of the forelimb of the Golden Pheasant
more » ... Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus), with an emphasis on brachial, antebrachial and manual segments. Methods: The forelimbs of five Golden Pheasants were dissected and detailed measurements of all muscles were made, including muscle mass, muscle belly length, fascicle length. From these values, muscle volume, physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA) and maximum isometric force were derived. Results: General trends such as the distribution of muscle mass, fascicle length and the ratio of tendon length/belly length are revealed. Comparing PCSAs between antebrachial depressors and elevators and between intrinsics of the alular digit and major digit yielded significant differences (p < 0.05). Pronounced development of the antebrachial depressors suggests that ventral rotation of the distal half of the wing is a pivotal factor in shape change and orientation modulation. Large PCSAs in tandem with the force generation capability of the major digit intrinsics may help stabilize the digits while enhancing support of the primary feathers. The architectural properties of the alular digit confirm that alular adjustment is essential to rapid adduction and abduction. Conclusions: These observations illustrate the underlying structural basis for the functional capacities of the distal forelimb muscles and may provide additional information useful in further biomechanical and in vivo investigations.
doi:10.1186/s40657-015-0013-2 fatcat:locgcottnbe7vn3tpuzqv2fyoy