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Cooling rates and body temperature regulation of hibernating echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus)
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-16, 19:01 authored by Stewart NicolStewart Nicol, Andersen, NA
Echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) are amongst the largest deep hibernators, but it is difficult to get them to hibernate normally under laboratory conditions. We measured body temperature (Tb) in 14 free-ranging echidnas using implanted data-loggers. Cooling during entry into hibernation bouts followed a Newtonian cooling curve, and conductances calculated from cooling curves were identical to those observed in cold exposed euthermic echidnas. Comparison with a reference soil temperature demonstrated that echidnas showed behavioural thermoregulation during hibernation; early in the hibernation season echidnas preferred to hibernate in cool areas, while during the coldest months they moved to warmer hibernacula, giving a preferred T b in the range 8-10Â°C. Thermal buffering against excessive variation in Tb may be as important as maintaining a low T b.
Publication titleThe Journal of Experimental Biology
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
PublisherThe Company of Biologists Ltd
Place of publicationUK