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Hibernation in Free-Ranging African Woodland Dormice, Graphiurus murinus

  • Nomakwezi Mzilikazi
  • Zimkitha Madikiza
  • Rebecca Oelkrug
  • Roderick M. Baxter
Chapter

Abstract

Although daily torpor is common in African animals, hibernation seems to be uncommon. In this study we investigated the use of hibernation in free-ranging African woodland dormice, Graphiurus murinus, during winter. We also investigated if this species made any seasonal adjustments to basal metabolic rates. G. murinus were heterothermic on a 100% of the measurement days. The minimum body temperature recorded was 1.5°C and the longest torpor bout without arousal was 8 days. There were no significant differences in basal metabolic rates between seasons and the measured values were similar to those previously reported in laboratory studies. We conclude that hibernation is the main adjustment that G. murinus utilise to deal with challenging winter conditions.

Keywords

Basal Metabolic Rate Torpor Bout Passive Heating Bout Length Daily Torpor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by a Thuthuka grant from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. Any opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this material are those of the authors and therefore the NRF does not accept any liability in regard thereto. Mr Brad Fike graciously hosted us and assisted with logistics at the Great Fish River Reserve (GFRR). The Eastern Cape Parks Board granted permission to work at GFRR.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nomakwezi Mzilikazi
    • 1
  • Zimkitha Madikiza
    • 2
  • Rebecca Oelkrug
    • 3
  • Roderick M. Baxter
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Department of ZoologyNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and EntomologyUniversity of Fort HareAliceSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Animal PhysiologyPhillips Universitaet MarburgMarburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of Geology and Resource Management, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of VendaThohoyandouSouth Africa

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