Ecophysiology of Small Desert Mammals by Allan A. Degen

By Allan A. Degen

Since small mammals have a wide floor to mass ratio, one might count on them to fast dehydrate and perish at excessive environmental temperatures. still, numerous small mammal species inhabit deserts. This attention-grabbing phenomenon is investigated by means of Prof. A. Allan Degen in his book.
The majority of small wasteland mammals are rodents, yet shrews of numerous grams and small foxes of one kg also are current. Their survival is due more often than not to behavioural variations and habitat choice, although, physiological diversifications additionally give a contribution to the luck. apparently, many small mammals that stay in numerous deserts of the realm exhibit similarities of their adaptive qualities even though they've got various taxonomic affinities.

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1994), and in the fat jird (Meriones crassus), a gerbilline rodent that inhabits extremely arid areas of the palaearctic deserts (Haim and Levi 1990). Responses in energy intake and body mass change in the Levant vole were similar to those of mesic voles. Energy intake was lower in voles adapted to long scotophase (LS voles; 8L:16D) than in those adapted to long photophase (LP voles; 16D: 8L), but there was no difference between the two groups in the digestibility of the diet. 2). Different responses to photoperiod, however, were displayed by the fat jird.

The heat inputs of an animal derive from heat from the environment, that is, from solar and infrared radiation, and from heat generated from metabolic processes. Heat is lost by sensible heat loss through infrared radiation and by insensible heat loss through evaporation, both respiratory and cutaneous. In addition, heat is both gained and lost via convection and conduction. The heat gains and losses are in a continual dynamic state, but in addition, heat can be stored or evacuated, resulting in a rise or fall of the core body temperature.

At temperatures above the Tlie' animals must increase evaporative water loss and/or allow their body temperature to increase. The quantity of heat removed from an animal when water changes from liquid to gas is the latent heat of vapourization of water. The latent heat of vapourization is dependent upon water temperature and equals 2427 J g-l at 30 DC. Concomitantly with the increase in evaporative water loss, there is often also an increase in the metabolic rate engendered by thermoregulatory processes which require energy for dissipating heat.

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