Thursday, July 22, 2004

Hibernation in the tropics

Hibernation has been demonstrated in an animal with a relatively high body temperature.

The Fat-tailed dwarf lemur may do so for up to 7 months - without regulating its body temperature. It is the first primate and tropical animal to be detected doing this by scientists.

Body temperature varies widely - by almost 25°C (9-35°C) - depending on the ambient temperature of their tree hole. Apparently by "following the temperature of their nests closely, the lemurs can reduce their metabolism and their energy expenditure."

The team studying them suggests the lemurs hibernate during the dry season to save energy, as the fruit they like to eat are not available. "Everybody associates hibernation with low temperature. It's nothing to do with low temperature, it's an adaptation to do with periods of low food." See the report in New Scientist.

Reference: Dausmann et al., 2004. Physiology: Hibernation in a tropical primate. Nature, 429: 825-826, (24 June 2004).


Adrian said...

Is that why I feel sleepy before and after lunch?

Adrian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.