Animal Physiology

Animal Physiology
Humboldt University Berlin
Philippstr. 13, House 18
10115 Berlin

Contact: Opens internal link in current windowDr. Stefan Hetz

Email: Öffnet ein Fenster zum Versenden einer E-Mailstefan.k.hetz(at)

Phone: +49 30 2093 6178                                    


We are primarily interested in the regulation of circulation and respiration in insects. Our more specific interests are the physiological reasons for the unique discontinuous gas exchange behavior and the reversal of heartbeat direction in our model animals. The development of new methods allows us to measure a bunch of physiological parameters (gas exchange, heartbeat, levels of oxygen/carbon dioxide) simultaneously. We are setting environmental parameters automatically and record the response of the animals´ physiological parameters. Computer aided data acquisition allows us to gain huge data sets that are used to check current hypotheses and generate models of the behavior of certain physiological parameters.


Selected Publications:



Hille, K. T., Hetz, S. K., Rosendahl, J., Braun, H.-S., Pieper, R. und Stumpff, F. (2016). Determination of Henry's constant, the dissociation constant, and the buffer capacity of the bicarbonate system in ruminal fluid. Journal of Dairy Science 99(1): 369–385.


Seymour, R. S., Jones, K. K. und Hetz, S. K. (2015). Respiratory function of the plastron in the aquatic bug Aphelocheirus aestivalis (Hemiptera, Aphelocheiridae). Journal of Experimental Biology 218(18): 2840–2846.


Rapp, T., Hallermann, J., Cooke, S. J., Hetz, S. K., Wuertz, S. und Arlinghaus, R. (2014). Consequences of Air Exposure on the Physiology and Behavior of Caught-and-Released Common Carp in the Laboratory and under Natural Conditions. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 34(2): 232–246.


Rapp T., Hallermann J., Cooke S.J., Hetz SK, Wuertz S., Arlinghaus R. (2012). Physiological and behavioural consequences of capture and retention in carp sacks on common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.), with implications for catch-and-release recreational fishing. Fisheries Research 125, 57-68.

Stabentheiner A., Kovac H., Hetz S.K., Kaefer H., Stabentheiner G. (2012). Assessing honeybee and wasp thermoregulation and energetics-New insights by combination of flow-through respirometry with infrared thermography. Thermochimica Acta 534, 77-86.

Groenewald B., Hetz S.K., Chown S.L., Terblanche J.S. (2012). Respiratory dynamics of discontinuous gas exchange in the tracheal system of the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria. Journal of Experimental Biology 215, 2301-2307.

Boardman L, Terblanche JS, Hetz SK, Marais E ,Chown SL (2012) Reactive oxygen species production and discontinuous gas exchange in insects. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences 279: 893-901.


Seymour RS, Hetz SK (2011) The diving bell and the spider: the physical gill of Argyroneta aquatica. Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 2175-2181.


Forster TD, Hetz SK (2010) Spiracle activity in moth pupae-The role of oxygen and carbon dioxide revisited. Journal of Insect Physiology 56: 492-501.

Kaiser A, Hartzendorf S, Wobschall A, Hetz SK (2010) Modulation of cyclic CO2 release in response to endogenous changes of metabolism during pupal development of Zophobas rugipes (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Journal of Insect Physiology 56: 502-512.

Moerbitz C , Hetz SK (2010) Tradeoffs between metabolic rate and  spiracular conductance in discontinuous gas exchange of Samia cynthia (Lepidoptera, Saturniidae). Journal of Insect Physiology 56: 536-542.

Duncan FD, Forster TD , Hetz SK (2010) Pump out the volume-The effect of tracheal and subelytral pressure pulses on convective gas exchange in a dung beetle, Circellium bacchus (Fabricus). Journal of Insect Physiology 56: 551-558.


Pirow R, Buchen I, Richter M, Allmer C, Nunes F, Gunsel A, Heikens W, Lamkemeyer T, von Reumont BM, Hetz SK (2009) Cationic  composition and acid-base state of the extracellular fluid, and specific buffer value of hemoglobin from the branchiopod crustacean Triops cancriformis. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 179: 369-381.


Terblanche JS, Marais E, Hetz SK, Chown SL (2008) Control of discontinuous gas exchange in Samia cynthia: effects of atmospheric oxygen, carbon dioxide and moisture. Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 3272-3280.

Voigt CC, Grasse P, Rex K, Hetz SK, Speakman JR (2008) Bat breath reveals metabolic substrate use in free-ranging vampires. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 178: 9-16.


Orgeig S, Bernhard W, Biswas SC, Daniels CB, Hall SB, Hetz SK, Lang CJ, Maina JN, Panda AK, Perez-Gil J, Possmayer F, Veldhuizen RA, Yan W (2007) The anatomy, physics, and physiology of gas exchange surfaces: is there a universal function for pulmonary surfactant in animal respiratory structures? Integrative and Comparative Biology 47: 610-627.

Kovac H, Stabentheiner A, Hetz SK, Petz M, Crailsheim K (2007) Respiration of resting honeybees. Journal of Insect Physiology 53: 1250-1261.

Hetz SK (2007) The role of the spiracles in gas exchange during development of Samia cynthia (Lepidoptera, Saturniidae). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 148: 743-754.


Chown SL, Gibbs AG, Hetz SK, Klok CJ, Lighton JRB, Marais E (2006) Discontinuous gas exchange in insects: A clarification of hypotheses and approaches. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 79: 333-343.

2005 and before

Hetz SK and Bradley TJ (2005) Insects breathe discontinuously to avoid oxygen toxicity. Nature 433: 516-519.

Wobschall A , Hetz SK (2004) Oxygen uptake by convection and diffusion in diapausing moth pupae (Attacus atlas). In Animals and Environments, (eds. S. Morris and A. Vosloo), pp. 157-164. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Bradley TJ, Brethorst L, Robinson S, Hetz SK (2003) Changes in the rate of CO2 release following feeding in the insect Rhodnius prolixus. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 76: 302-309.

Bradley TJ, Hetz SK (2001) Specific dynamic action in the insect Rhodnius prolixus. American Zoologist 41: 1397-1397.

Mbata GN, Hetz SK, Reichmuth C, Adler C (2000) Tolerance of pupae and pharate adults of Callosobruchus subinnotatus Pic (Coleoptera : Bruchidae) to modified atmospheres: a function of metabolic rate. Journal of Insect Physiology 46: 145-151.

Hetz SK, Psota E, Wasserthal LT (1999) Roles of aorta, ostia and tracheae in heartbeat and respiratory gas exchange in pupae of Troides rhadamantus Staudinger 1888 and Ornithoptera priamus L. 1758 (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae). International Journal of Insect Morphology & Embryology 28: 131-144.

Hetz SK, Wasserthal LT, Hermann S, Kaden H, Oelssner W (1994) Direct oxygen measurements in the tracheal system of lepidopterous pupae using miniaturized amperometric sensors. Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics 33: 165-170.



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