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Cooling rates and body temperature regulation of hibernating echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

Nicol, SC and Andersen, NA 2007 , 'Cooling rates and body temperature regulation of hibernating echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus)' , Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 210, no. 4 , pp. 586-592 , doi:

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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 Tb in the range 8-10{degrees}C. Thermal buffering against excessive variation in Tb may be as important as maintaining a low Tb.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Nicol, SC and Andersen, NA
Keywords: echidna, monotreme, hibernation, cooling, thermoregulation, conductance
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Experimental Biology
ISSN: 1477-9145
DOI / ID Number:
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