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The development of endothermy during pouch life in the Eastern Barred bandicoot (Perameles gunnii), a marsupial

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 17:51 authored by Ikonomopoulou, M, Rose, RW
Marsupials are born ectothermic and gradually become endothermic during pouch occupancy. In order to study the timing of this transition, we measured the metabolic rates of eight pouch-young eastern barred bandicoots (Perameles gunnii) at 25°C (the thermoneutral zone of adults), at 35°C (pouch temperature), and after injection with norepinephrine. From 5 to 7 wk of age, oxygen consumption (V̇O2) was higher at 35°C than at 25°C. At 8 wk, V̇O2 was significantly higher at 25°C than at 35°C. Norepinephrine administration at 5 and 6 wk had no effect on metabolic rate, but at 8 wk, near pouch vacation, it resulted in a significant increase in metabolic rate. Our results indicate that signs of thermoregulation for P. gunnii begin at 7 wk, and at 8 wk the species is endothermic, that is, able to increase heat production in response to both cold and norepinephrine. The appearance of fur, first seen at the age of 6 wk and fully developed at 8 wk, coincides with the onset of endothermy. © 2006 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.


Publication title

Physiological and Biochemical Zoology








School of Natural Sciences


University of Chicago Press

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Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences

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