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


Nicol, SC and Andersen, NA, Cooling rates and body temperature regulation of hibernating echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), The Journal of Experimental Biology, 210, (4) pp. 586-592. ISSN 0022-0949 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1242/jeb.02701


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 8-10°C. Thermal buffering against excessive variation in Tb may be as important as maintaining a low T b.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal physiology - biophysics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Nicol, SC (Associate Professor Stewart Nicol)
UTAS Author:Andersen, NA (Dr Niels Andersen)
ID Code:43718
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2011-11-29

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