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Title: Torpor in free-ranging antechinus: does it increase fitness?
Contributor(s): Rojas, A Daniella (author); Koertner, Gerhard  (author)orcid ; Geiser, Fritz  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2014
DOI: 10.1007/s00114-013-1136-0
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Abstract: Antechinus are small, insectivorous, heterothermic marsupial mammals that use torpor from late summer to early winter and reproduce once a year in late winter/early spring. Males die after mating, most females produce only a single litter, but some survive a second winter and produce another litter. As it is not known how these females manage to survive the second winter after the energetically demanding reproductive period and then reproduce a second time, we aimed to provide the first data on thermal biology of free-ranging antechinus by using temperature telemetry. Male 'Antechinus stuartii' and 'Antechinus flavipes' rarely entered torpor in autumn/early winter in the wild, expressing only shallow bouts of <2 h. Female 'A. stuartii' used torpor extensively, employing bouts up to 16.7 h with body temperatures as low as 17.8 °C. Interestingly, although first and second year females used similar torpor patterns, torpor occurrence was almost twofold in second year (93 % of days) than first year females (49 %), and the proportion of the overall monitoring period animals spent torpid was 3.2-fold longer in the former with a corresponding shorter activity period. Our study suggests that intensive use of torpor is crucial for second year females for autumn and winter survival and production of a second litter. We provide the first evidence of an age-related pattern in daily torpor expression in free-ranging mammals and show that torpor use is a complex process that is affected not only by the current energy availability and thermal conditions but also by the reproductive history and age of individuals.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Naturwissenschaften, 101(2), p. 105-114
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: Berlin, Germany
ISSN: 1432-1904
Field of Research (FOR): 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
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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