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Field energetics of free-living, lactating and non-lactating echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus)


Schmid, J and Andersen, NA and Speakman, JR and Nicol, SC, Field energetics of free-living, lactating and non-lactating echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A, 136, (4) pp. 903-909. ISSN 1095-6433 (2003) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/S1095-6433(03)00240-X


We measured daily energy expenditure (DEE) and water turnover rates in lactating and non-lactating short beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) using the doubly labelled water technique during the lactation period in spring. Reproductively inactive echidnas were on average significantly heavier (median: 3354 g; range: 2929-3780 g; N=4) than lactating females (median: 2695 g; range: 2690-2715 g; N=3) during the equivalent time period. The median water flux rate of lactating echidnas (152 ml day-1; range: 120-198 ml day -1) did not differ significantly from that of non-lactating females (170 ml day-1; range: 128-227 ml day-1). The median DEE of echidnas that were lactating was 645 kJ day-1 (range: 581-850 kJ day-1), which was not different from the median DEE of non-reproductive control females (763 kJ day-1; range: 720-766 kJ day-1). Lactating females somehow compensate for the energy costs of milk production, resulting in a daily energy budget that is not different from that of non-reproductive females. At least part of their energy minimising strategy could involve the use of moderate heterothermy, allowing a greater proportion of daily energy expenditure to diverted to milk production. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Other biological sciences
Research Field:Other biological sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Andersen, NA (Dr Niels Andersen)
UTAS Author:Nicol, SC (Associate Professor Stewart Nicol)
ID Code:28363
Year Published:2003
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Anatomy and Physiology
Deposited On:2003-08-01
Last Modified:2004-03-23

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