Seasonal control of energy requirements for thermoregulation in the djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus), living in natural photoperiod

Summary

Djungarian dwarf hamsters,Phodopus s. sungorus, were kept in natural photoperiodic conditions throughout the year, either inside at a constantT a of 23°C or outside subjected to seasonally varyingT a. Comparisons were made between hamsters from both conditions to evaluate the significance of seasonal changes in photoperiod and/orT a as environmental cues for seasonal acclimatization inPhodopus. Basal metabolic rate was lowest in July (1.68 ml/g·h) and highest in January (2.06 ml/g·h inPhodopus living outside), combined with a decrease inT 1c from 26°C in July to 20°C in January. This was parallelled by seasonal changes in body weight (summer 42 g, winter 25g), fur colouration, fur depth and the occurrence of short daily torpor.

AtT a below thermoneutrality total energy requirements for thermoregulation in winter acclimatizedPhodopus were found 36% lower than summer values (e.g. at O°CT a in summer 1,160 mW, in winter 760 mW), which were effected by a combined strategy of reducing body weight (19%) together with improvements of thermal insulation of the body surface (17%). All seasonal changes were similar inPhodopus living inside or outside, suggesting that seasonal changes in photoperiod and not seasonal changes inT a is the overriding controller for the environmental cueing of seasonality in energy requirements for thermoregulation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Aschoff J (1955) Jahresgang der Fortpflanzung beim Warmblüter. Stud Gen 8:742–755

    Google Scholar 

  2. Brody S (1964) Bioenergetics and growth. Reinhold, New York

    Google Scholar 

  3. Farner DS (1961) Comparative physiology: photoperiodicity. Ann Rev Physiol 23:71–96

    Google Scholar 

  4. Feist DD, Rosenmann M (1976) Norepinephrine thermogenesis in seasonally acclimatized and cold acclimated red-backed voles in Alaska. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 54:146–153

    Google Scholar 

  5. Figala J, Hoffmann K, Goldau G (1973) Zur Jahresperiodik beim Dsungarischen ZwerghamsterPhodopus sungorus PALLAS. Oecologia (Berlin) 12:89–118

    Google Scholar 

  6. Flint WE (1966) Die Zwerghamster der paläarktischen Fauma. Ziemsen, Wittenberg Lutherstadt

    Google Scholar 

  7. Fuller WA, Stebbins LL, Dyke GR (1969) Overwintering of small mammals near Great Slave Lake, Northern Canada. Arctic 22:34–55

    Google Scholar 

  8. Hart JS (1956) Seasonal changes in insulation of the fur. Can J Zool 34:53–57

    Google Scholar 

  9. Hart JS (1971) Rodents. In: Causey Whittow G (ed) Comparative physiology of thermoregulation, Mammals, vol II. Academic Press, New York London

    Google Scholar 

  10. Hart JS, Heroux O (1953) A comparison of some seasonal and temperature-induced changes inPeromyscus: Cold resistance, metabolism, and pelage insulation. Can J Zool 31:528–534

    Google Scholar 

  11. Hart JS, Heroux O (1963) Seasonal acclimatization in wild rats (Rattus norvegicus). Can J Zool 41:711–716

    Google Scholar 

  12. Heldmaier G (1975) Metabolic and thermoregulatory responses to heat and cold in the Djungarian hamster,Phodopus sungorus. J Comp Physiol 102:115–122

    Google Scholar 

  13. Heldmaier G, Hoffmann K (1974) Melatonin stimulates growth of brown adipose tissue. Nature 247:224–225

    Google Scholar 

  14. Heldmaier G, Steinlechner S (in press) Seasonal pattern and energetics of short daily torpor in the Djungarian hamster,Phodopus sungorus. Oecologia (Berlin)

  15. Heroux O, Depocas F, Hart JS (1959) Comparison between seasonal and thermal acclimation in white rats. I. Metabolic and insulative changes. Can J Biochem Physiol 37:473–478

    Google Scholar 

  16. Herreid CF, Kessel B (1967) Thermal conductance in birds and mammals. Comp Biochem Physiol 21:405–414

    Google Scholar 

  17. Hinds DS (1973) Acelimatization of thermoregulation in the desert cottontail,Sylvilagus audubonii. J Mammal 54:708–728

    Google Scholar 

  18. Hissa R, Tarkkonen H (1969) Seasonal variations in brown adipose tissue in two species of voles and the common shrew. Ann Zool Fenn 6:444–447

    Google Scholar 

  19. Hoffmann K (1973) The influence of photoperiod and melatonin on testis size, body weight, and pelage colour in the Djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus). J Comp Physiol 85:267–282

    Google Scholar 

  20. Hoffmann K (1978) Effect of short photoperiods on puberty growth and molt in the Djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus). J Reprod Fertil 54:29–35

    Google Scholar 

  21. Hyvärinen H, Heikura K (1971) Effect of age and seasonal rhythm on the growth patterns of some small mammals in Finland and in Kirkenes, Norway. J Zool (Lond) 165:545–556

    Google Scholar 

  22. Iverson SL, Turner BN (1974) Winter weight dynamics inMicrotus pennsylvanicus. Ecology 55:1030–1041

    Google Scholar 

  23. Khateeb A al, Johnson, E (1971a) Seasonal changes of pelage in the vole (Microtus agrestis). I Correlation with changes in the endocrine glands. Gen Comp Endocrinol 16:217–228

    Google Scholar 

  24. Khateeb A al, Johnson E (1971b) Seasonal changes of pelage in the vole (Microtus agrestis). II. The effect of daylength. Gen Comp Endocrinol 16:229–235

    Google Scholar 

  25. Lynch GR (1973) Seasonal changes in thermogenesis, organ weights, and body composition in the White-footed mouse,Peromyscus leucopus. Oecologia (Berlin) 13:363–376

    Google Scholar 

  26. Lynch GR, White SE, Grundel R, Berger MS (1978) Effects of photoperiod, melatonin administration and thyroid block on spontaneous daily torpor and temperature regulation in the White-footed mouse,Peromyscus leucopus. J Comp Physiol 125:157–163

    Google Scholar 

  27. McNab BK (1970) Body weight and the energetics of temperature regulation J Exp Biol 53:329–348

    Google Scholar 

  28. Mezhzherin VA (1964) Dehnel's phenomenon and its possible explanation. Acta Theriol 6:95–114

    Google Scholar 

  29. Morrison PR (1960) Some interrelations between weight and hibernation function. Bull Mus Comp Zool Harv Univ 124:75–91

    Google Scholar 

  30. Morrison PR, Pearson OP (1946) The metabolism of a very small Mammal. Science 104:287–289

    Google Scholar 

  31. Pearson AM (1962) Activity patterns, energy metabolism, and growth rate of the volesClethrionomys rufocanus andC. glareolus in Finland. Ann Zool Soc ‘Vanamo’ 24:1–57

    Google Scholar 

  32. Petterborg LJ (1978) Effect of photoperiod on body weight in the vole,Microtus montanus. Can J Zool 56:431–435

    Google Scholar 

  33. Rigaudiere N (1969) Les variations saisonnieres du metabolisme de base et de la thyroide chez les microtines. Arch Sci Physiol 23:215–241

    Google Scholar 

  34. Rosenmann M, Morrison P, Feist D (1975) Seasonal changes in the metabolic capacity of red-backed voles. Physiol Zool 48:303–310

    Google Scholar 

  35. Scholander PF, Walters V, Hock R, Irving L (1950a) Body insulation of some arctic and tropical mammals and birds. Biol Bull 99:237–258

    Google Scholar 

  36. Scholander PF, Hock R, Walters V, Irving L (1950b) Adaptations to cold in arctic and tropical mammals and birds in relation to body temperature, insulation, and basal metabolic rate. Biol Bull 99:259–271

    Google Scholar 

  37. Sealander JA (1972) Circum-annual changes in age, pelage characteristics and adipose tissue in the northern red-backed vole in Interior Alaska. Acta Theriol 17:1–24

    Google Scholar 

  38. Stebbins LL (1978) Some aspects of overwintering inPeromyscus maniculatus. Can J Zool 56:386–390

    Google Scholar 

  39. Taylor CR, Schmidt-Nielsen K, Raab JL (1970) Scaling energetic cost of running to body size in mammals. Am J Physiol 219:1104–1107

    Google Scholar 

  40. Turek FW, Campbell CS (1979) Photoperiodic regulation of neuroendocrine-gonadal activity. Biol Reprod 20:32–50

    Google Scholar 

  41. Wunder BA (1975) A model for estimating metabolic rate of active or resting mammals. J Theoret Biol 49:345–354

    Google Scholar 

  42. Wunder BA, Dobkin DS, Gettinger RD (1977) Shifts of thermogenesis in the Prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster). Oecologia (Berlin) 29:11–26

    Google Scholar 

  43. Zejda J (1971) Differential growth of three cohorts of the bank vole,Clethrionomys glareolus. Zool Listy 20:229–245

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

This research was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (He 990)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Heldmaier, G., Steinlechner, S. Seasonal control of energy requirements for thermoregulation in the djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus), living in natural photoperiod. J Comp Physiol B 142, 429–437 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00688972

Download citation

Keywords

  • Metabolic Rate
  • Seasonal Change
  • Energy Requirement
  • Thermal Insulation
  • Basal Metabolic Rate