Research press release


Scientific Reports

Animal behaviour: Primate hibernation is not restricted to Madagascar



今回、Thomas Rufたちは、ベトナム北部の屋外の囲いで飼育されている5匹のピグミースローロリスの深部体温を秋、冬と春にわたって定期的に測定した。その結果、雄と雌のピグミースローロリスが真冬(12月中旬~2月中旬)に数日間の休眠状態(冬眠)に入り、それが最大63時間継続したことが明らかになった。Rufたちは、この休眠状態が、入手可能な食料の季節変化(例えば、冬季に昆虫の数が少なくなること)への適応であるかもしれないと考えている。冬眠中には体温が低下するため、ピグミースローロリスのエネルギー消費量は基礎代謝率の約5%に減少する。

Hibernation in primates may not be exclusively restricted to species on the island of Madagascar, according to research published in Scientific Reports this week. The study found that the pygmy slow loris, a small primate found in the forests of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China, can also hibernate.

Hibernation is defined by the occurrence of bouts of torpor - a reduction in body temperature and metabolic activity - that last for periods in excess of 24 hours. In primates, hibernation has been reported in Madagascan lemurs and appears to be geographically limited to this island.

Thomas Ruf and colleagues monitored the core body temperatures of five pygmy slow lorises during autumn, winter and spring, in outdoor enclosures in northern Vietnam. The authors found that lorises of both sexes entered a state of multiday torpor (hibernation) during midwinter (mid-December to mid-February), with bouts lasting up to 63 hours. The authors suggest that this could be an adaptation to seasonal changes in food availability, such as the low abundance of insects during winter. As body temperature decreases during hibernation, this leads to a reduction in energy expenditure to approximately five percent of the animal’s basal metabolic rate.

doi: 10.1038/srep17392


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