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Title: Cool running: locomotor performance at low body temperature in mammals
Contributor(s): Rojas, Ana Daniella (author); Koertner, Gerhard  (author)orcid ; Geiser, Fritz  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2012
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0269Open Access Link
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Abstract: Mammalian torpor saves enormous amounts of energy, but a widely assumed cost of torpor is immobility and therefore vulnerability to predators. Contrary to this assumption, some small marsupial mammals in the wild move while torpid at low body temperatures to basking sites, thereby minimizing energy expenditure during arousal. Hence, we quantified how mammalian locomotor performance is affected by body temperature. The three small marsupial species tested, known to use torpor and basking in the wild, could move while torpid at body temperatures as low as 14.8-17.9°C. Speed was a sigmoid function of body temperature, but body temperature effects on running speed were greater than those in an ectothermic lizard used for comparison. We provide the first quantitative data of movement at low body temperature in mammals, which have survival implications for wild heterothermic mammals, as directional movement at low body temperature permits both basking and predator avoidance.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Biology Letters, 8(5), p. 868-870
Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing
Place of Publication: London, United Kingdom
ISSN: 1744-9561
Field of Research (FOR): 060604 Comparative Physiology
060806 Animal Physiological Ecology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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