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Nature. 2004 Jun 24;429(6994):825-6.

Physiology: hibernation in a tropical primate.

Author information

1
Department of Animal Physiology, Phillips University, 35043 Marburg, Germany. dausmann@staff.uni-marburg.de

Abstract

The Madagascan fat-tailed dwarf lemur, Cheirogaleus medius, hibernates in tree holes for seven months of the year, even though winter temperatures rise to over 30 degrees C. Here we show that this tropical primate relies on a flexible thermal response that depends on the properties of its tree hole: if the hole is poorly insulated, body temperature fluctuates widely, passively following the ambient temperature; if well insulated, body temperature stays fairly constant and the animal undergoes regular spells of arousal. Our findings indicate that arousals are determined by maximum body temperatures and that hypometabolism in hibernating animals is not necessarily coupled to a low body temperature.

PMID:
15215852
DOI:
10.1038/429825a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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