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Data from: Solar radiation during rewarming from torpor in elephant shrews: supplementation or substitution of endogenous heat production?

Citation

Thompson, Michelle L.; Mzilikazi, Nomakwezi; Bennett, Nigel C.; McKechnie, Andrew E. (2016), Data from: Solar radiation during rewarming from torpor in elephant shrews: supplementation or substitution of endogenous heat production?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fc7mn

Abstract

Many small mammals bask in the sun during rewarming from heterothermy, but the implications of this behaviour for their energy balance remain little understood. Specifically, it remains unclear whether solar radiation supplements endogenous metabolic thermogenesis (i.e., rewarming occurs through the additive effects of internally-produced and external heat), or whether solar radiation reduces the energy required to rewarm by substituting (i.e, replacing) metabolic heat production. To address this question, we examined patterns of torpor and rewarming rates in eastern rock elephant shrews (Elephantulus myurus) housed in outdoor cages with access to either natural levels of solar radiation or levels that were experimentally reduced by means of shade cloth. We also tested whether acclimation to solar radiation availability was manifested via phenotypic flexibility in basal metabolic rate (BMR), non-shivering thermogenesis (NST) capacity and/or summit metabolism (Msum). Rewarming rates varied significantly among treatments, with elephant shrews experiencing natural solar radiation levels rewarming faster than conspecifics experiencing solar radiation levels equivalent to approximately 20% or 40% of natural levels. BMR differed significantly between individuals experiencing natural levels of solar radiation and conspecifics experiencing approximately 20% of natural levels, but no between-treatment difference was evident for NST capacity or Msum. The positive relationship between solar radiation availability and rewarming rate, together with the absence of acclimation in maximum non-shivering and total heat production capacities, suggests that under the conditions of this study solar radiation supplemented rather than substituted metabolic thermogenesis as a source of heat during rewarming from heterothermy.

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