Document Detail

Surprisingly low risk of overheating during digging in two subterranean rodents.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  25446207     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Capacities for and constraints of heat dissipation are considered to be important factors governing maximum intensity and duration of physical activity. Subterranean mammals are endurance diggers, but because of lack of air currents in their burrows, high relative humidity and other physical constraints, the capacity of common mammalian cooling mechanisms underground is very limited. We analyzed surface and body core temperature changes after digging in soft and hard substrates in two species of African mole-rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia); the social giant mole-rat Fukomys mechowii and the solitary silvery mole-rat Heliophobius argenteocinereus. As expected, we observed an increase of body core temperature in both species after digging in both substrates. Surprisingly, and contrary to our expectations, we observed remarkable decrease of mole-rats' surface temperature immediately after the end of the digging trials. This decrease was greater in soft and moister soil than that in hard and drier soil. Our results suggest that mole-rats may effectively avoid overheating in burrows by effective cooling while digging, especially in wet soil. This indicates that burrowing in soils moistened by rains could be easier than previously thought contributing thus to mole-rats success in challenging environment of subterranean burrows.
Jan Okrouhlík; Hynek Burda; Petr Kunc; Ivana Knížková; Radim Sumbera
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2014-11-6
Journal Detail:
Title:  Physiology & behavior     Volume:  138C     ISSN:  1873-507X     ISO Abbreviation:  Physiol. Behav.     Publication Date:  2014 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-12-2     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  2014-12-3    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0151504     Medline TA:  Physiol Behav     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  236-241     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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