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Torpor at high ambient temperature in a neotropical didelphid, the grey short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica).

Naturwissenschaften 101, 1003-1006 (2014)
DOI
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The grey short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica, has been an established research animal for more than five decades, but relatively, little is known about its thermophysiology. Here we studied core body temperature (T b) and metabolic rate (MR) of female adult M. domestica housed in the laboratory at an ambient temperature (T a) of 26 °C. In expanding previous reports, the average recorded core T b of M. domestica was 34.3 °C. The T b of an individual M. domestica can drop below 30 °C (minimal T b: 28.6 °C) accompanied by a reduction in MR of up to 52 % even while having ad libitum access to food. These findings demonstrate for the first time the presence of spontaneous torpor in M. domestica. Metabolic suppression at relatively high T a and T b furthermore broadens our perspective on the use of torpor as a metabolic strategy not just restricted to cold climates.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Body Temperature ; Marsupials ; Metabolic Rate ; Torpor; Body-temperature; Metabolic-rate; Hibernation; Mammals
Reviewing status