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By Allan A. Degen

Since small mammals have a wide floor to mass ratio, one might anticipate them to fast dehydrate and perish at excessive environmental temperatures. still, a lot of 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 a number of grams and small foxes of one kg also are current. Their survival is due mostly to behavioural diversifications and habitat choice, in spite of the fact that, physiological diversifications additionally give a contribution to the luck. curiously, many small mammals that stay in several deserts of the area exhibit similarities of their adaptive features even supposing they've got assorted taxonomic affinities.

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Tes provides a thermal index of relative rate of heat exchange by combining wind, sun and air temperatures. It represents a temperature "of a still dark enclosure that would cause an equal rate of heat exchange" (Vispo and Bakken 1993). Te" estimated by correcting the operative temperature (Te) of an animal, describes the rate of heat flow under field conditions and provides an equivalent air temperature for a live animal under laboratory conditions, taking into account insolation, air and surface temperatures and convective heat exchange (Bakken 1976; Hainsworth 1995).

None of the arvicolids studied thus far enters torpor; in fact, all maintain rigid endothermy. No adult arvicolids are small (the smallest, Clethrionomys calijornicus, being over 18 g), they have relatively high metabolic rates, and they generally inhabit cool to cold environments (McNab 1992a). In contrast, heteromyid adults weigh less than 10 g and fulfill the other criteria related to torpor. Gerbillinae also fit the criteria related to torpor and include small species. 5-22 DC, there appears to be no other report available on torpor in these granivores.

Data). G. henleyi is Heat Transfer and Body Temperature 48 the smallest of the gerbils (8-12 g), inhabits some of the most extreme deserts (Shenbrot et al. 1994a), and should therefore be a prime candidate for entering torpor. M. crassus is much larger (50-110 g) and co-exists with G. henleyi over much of their ranges. Both species lost body mass on restricted diets, but neither entered torpor. The body temperature dropped to about 25°C in G. henleyi, and without help, this gerbil was unable to recover euthermy.

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