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Title: Intraspecific differences in behaviour and physiology: effects of captive breeding on patterns of torpor in feathertail gliders
Contributor(s): Geiser, Fritz  (author)orcid ; Ferguson, C (author)
Publication Date: 2001
DOI: 10.1007/s003600100207
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Abstract: Studies on the physiology of mammals and birds are often conducted using captive-bred individuals and it is commonly assumed that the resulting data are representative of individuals living in the field. To investigate whether these assumptions are justified, we quantified morphological, behavioural, and physiological variables of the small marsupial feathertail glider ('Acrobates pygmaeus'). We compared three populations: (i) individuals from a cool-temperate, montane area, (ii) individuals form a subtropical, coastal area, and (iii) captive-bred individuals. Captive-bred gliders differed from the montane field gliders in morphology (longer tails and snouts), behaviour (longer activity periods) and physiology (less frequent torpor, shorter torpor, shallower torpor, higher metabolic rates during rest and torpor, and slower rates of rewarming). Most of these differences were also apparent between the captive-bred and the coastal field gliders. Unlike both field populations, captive-bred gliders often became hypothermic and were unable to rewarm. In contrast to the other physiological variables, the minimum body temperatures defended during torpor and the corresponding air temperatures differed between the montane and coastal field gliders, but were similar in coastal field and captive-bred gliders. Our study shows that morphology, behaviour and physiology can be strongly affected by breeding in or acclimation to captivity. The poor expression of torpor and thermal performance of the captive-bred gliders raises the question of whether they possess the physiological capability for survival in the wild. Even though captive breeding appears to have only minor effects on some physiological variables, data from captive-bred individuals should only be extrapolated to the field with caution.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology, 171(7), p. 569-576
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany
ISSN: 0174-1578
Field of Research (FOR): 060604 Comparative Physiology
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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