Aspects Of Temperature Regulation In The Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes Auropunctatus): Responses To Heat And Cold

Ebisu, Roy
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Eight adult small Indian mongooses Herpestes auropunctatus (4 males, 4 females) were exposed to air temperatures (Ta) of 5˚, 10˚, 20˚, 25˚, 30˚, 35˚, 40˚, and 45˚C. Mean body weight for males was 735.2 ± 75.9 gm (S.D.) and for females, 487.4 ± 44.6 gm (S.D.). The animals were lightly restrained, unanesthesized and in thermoregulatory stability (at Ta less than 45˚C) before data collection in an open flow system of rectal temperature, oxygen uptake, total evaporative water loss and respiration rate. Resting body temperature (39.41 ± .36˚C, S.E.) was maintained at Ta ranging from 13˚ to 37˚C. Body temperature increased below 10˚C and above 35˚C. Subjects appeared heat stressed at Ta above 38˚C. Total evaporative water loss (TEWL) remained constant below Ta = 37˚C with a mean of .033 ± .007 mg H2O/gm/hr (S.E.). A marked increase in TEWL occurred above Ta = 38˚C due to the onset of panting and salivation. The resting metabolic rate was .66 ± .18 ml O2/gm/hr (S.E.). The lower critical temperature was approximated as 29˚C, and the upper critical temperature lay between 35˚ and 40˚C. At 5˚C metabolic rate increased three times the resting level. Four animals were able to dissipate over 100% of the metabolic heat produced by evaporation at air temperatures near 45˚C. Thermal conductance reached a minimum at 30˚C with a mean of .226 ± .025 cal/(gm • hr • ˚C), implying maximal vasoconstriction below this point. Respiration frequency had a mean of 63.2 ± 15.0 breaths/min. (S.E.) below 32˚C and increased to 380.0 ± 67.9 breaths/min. (S.E.) above 38˚C, where panting was noticeable. Possible differences in sex were sought in the following parameters: oxygen consumption (at thermoneutrality), rectal temperature, and respiration rate. No significant differences were found.
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