Effect of diet quality and soil hardness on metabolic rate in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum
PERISSINOTTI PP; ANTENUCCI CD; ZENUTO RR; LUNA F
COMPARATIVE BIOCHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY A-MOLECULAR AND INTEGRATIVE PHYSIOLOGY
ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC
Año: 2009 vol. 154 p. 298 - 298
The present work is aimed to establish, in Ctenomys talarum, the physiological and behavioral adjustments undergo by individuals when they are allowed to dig burrows in soils with different hardness and fed with diets of different quality. For each soil-diet combination, we estimated: resting metabolic rate (RMR), body temperature (Tb), body mass, digestibility, food consumption rate, transit time, reingestion rate, feces production and time devoted to feeding, resting, locomotor activity and coprophagy. Soil type and diet quality affected RMR, but response to soil hardness was verified later. Animals fed with high quality (HQ) diet showed similar body temperature irrespective of soil condition, while animals fed with low quality (LQ) diet showed lower Tb under soft soil (SS). Individuals fed with LQ diet showed lower RMR and both, lower digestibility and high transit time of food than those fed with HQ diet. Moreover, increments in feeding and defecation rates were observed in the former group. Number of reingested feces did not differ between animals fed with diets of different quality. However, when incidence of reingestion was considered, animals fed with HQ diet showed higher values of feces ingestion. Either feeding, resting and activity patterns were arrhythmic. However, for animals fed with LQ diet a tendency to rhythmic coprophagy was observed and it could be considered as a way to optimize feeding. This study shows that RMR is limited by digestive efficiency which is influenced by diet quality, but also thermal stress may limit the conversion of assimilated energy into work and heat.