The energetics of huddling in two species of mole-rat (Rodentia: Bathyergidae)

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Kotze, Juan
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.contributor.author Scantlebury, Michael
dc.date.accessioned 2009-05-27T13:36:49Z
dc.date.available 2009-05-27T13:36:49Z
dc.date.issued 2008
dc.description.abstract Small rodents with a large surface-area-to-volume ratio and a high thermal conductance are likely to experience conditions where they have to expend large amounts of energy in order to maintain a constant body temperature at low ambient temperatures. The survival of small rodents is thus dependent on their ability to reduce heat loss and increase heat production at low ambient temperatures. Two such animals are the social subterranean rodents Cryptomys damarensis (the Damaraland mole-rat) and Cryptomys hottentotus natalensis (the Natal mole-rat). This study examined the energy savings associated with huddling as a behavioural thermoregulatory mechanism to conserve energy in both these species. Individual oxygen consumption (VO2) was measured in groups ranging in size from one to 15 huddling animals for both species at ambient temperatures of 14, 18, 22, 26 and 30 °C. Savings in energy (VO2) were then compared between the two species. Significant differences in VO2 (p < 0.05) were found within each species, indicating that both Damaraland mole-rats and Natal mole-rats saved more energy in larger as opposed to smaller groups. VO2 was also different between the two species, with Damaraland mole-rats showing a higher decrease in VO2 with increasing group size compared to Natal mole-rats. These findings suggest that huddling confers significant energy savings in both species and that the amount of energy saved is related to each species' ecology. More generally, these findings suggest that group living desert-adapted species are likely to be more prone to heat loss at low ambient temperatures than temperate-adapted species, especially at low group sizes. This is presumably offset against the advantages obtained by having a low metabolic rate and avoiding hyperthermia when temperatures are hot. en
dc.identifier.citation Kotze, J, Bennett, NC & Scantlebury, M 2008, ‘The energetics of huddling in two species of mole-rat (Rodentia: Bathyergidae)’, Thysiology & Behavior, vol. 93, no. 1-2, pp, 215-221. [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0031-9384] en
dc.identifier.issn 0031-9384
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.08.016
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/10209
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Elsevier en
dc.rights Elsevier en
dc.subject Oxygen consumption en
dc.subject Energy en
dc.subject Metabolic rate en
dc.subject Huddling en
dc.subject Homeothermy en
dc.subject Thermoregulation en
dc.subject Cooperative breeding en
dc.subject Mole rats, African en
dc.subject.lcsh Bathyergidae en
dc.subject.lcsh Rodents en
dc.subject.lcsh Body temperature -- Regulation en
dc.title The energetics of huddling in two species of mole-rat (Rodentia: Bathyergidae) en
dc.type Postprint Article en


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record