MARTIN Gabriel Mario
Torpor in the Patagonian opossum (Lestodelphys halli): implications for the evolution of daily torpor and hibernation.
GEISER, F.; MARTIN, G. M.
Lugar: Berlin; Año: 2013 vol. 100 p. 975 - 975
Hibernation and daily torpor are two distinct forms of torpor, and although they are related, it is not known how and in which sequence they evolved. As the pattern of torpor expressed by the oldest marsupial order the opossums (Didelphimorphia) may provide insights into the evolution of torpor, we aimed to provide the first quantitative data on the thermal biology and torpor expression of the rare Patagonian opossum (Lestodelphys halli). It is the opossum with the southernmost distribution, has a propensity of autumnal fattening, and therefore, is likely to hibernate. We captured two male Lestodelphys, which while in captivity displayed strong daily fluctuations of body temperatures (Tb) measured with implanted miniature data loggers even when they remained normothermic. In autumn and early winter, torpor was expressed occasionally when food was available, but cold exposure and food withdrawal increased torpor use. The mean Tb throughout the study was 32.2±1.4 °C, the minimum Tb measured in torpid Lestodelphys was 7.7 °C, average torpor bout duration was 10.3 h, and the maximum torpor bout duration was 42.5 h. Thus, the pattern of torpor expressed by Lestodelphys was intermediate between that of daily heterotherms and hibernators suggesting that it may represent an ancestral opportunistic torpor pattern from which the derived patterns of daily torpor and seasonal hibernation diverged.