Navigation Links
Primate hibernation more common than previously thought
Date:5/2/2013

DURHAM, N.C. -- Until recently, the only primate known to hibernate as a survival strategy was a creature called the western fat-tailed dwarf lemur, a tropical tree-dweller from the African island of Madagascar.

But it turns out this hibernating lemur isn't alone. In a study appearing May 2 in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers report that two other little-known lemurs -- Crossley's dwarf lemur and Sibree's dwarf lemur -- burrow into the soft, spongy rainforest floor in the eastern part of Madagascar, curl up and spend the next three to seven months snoozing underground.

By comparing the hibernation habits of eastern dwarf lemurs and their western counterparts, researchers hope to shed light on what sends hibernating animals into standby mode, and whether lemurs -- our closest genetic relatives known to hibernate -- do it differently from other hibernating animals.

"Exactly what triggers hibernation is still an open question," said lead author Marina Blanco a postdoctoral researcher at the Duke Lemur Center.

Unlike animals such as bears and ground squirrels, which hibernate to survive the cold, western dwarf lemurs hibernate to survive during western Madagascar's long dry season -- a time when temperatures top 85 degrees, trees drop their leaves and food and water are in short supply.

But the hibernation habits of Madagascar's eastern dwarf lemurs, whose homes include high-altitude forests where winter temperatures occasionally dip below freezing, were poorly known.

"It's a very different environment," Blanco said.

To find out more, Blanco and her colleagues trapped and fitted the squirrel-sized animals with temperature-sensitive radio collars before the start of the hibernation season, allowing them to find the lemurs' underground burrows and monitor their body temperature once hibernation began.

Hibernating animals tend to breathe more slowly, drop their heart rate and lower their body temperature, becoming inactive for days at a time. Dwarf lemurs are no exception.

"To the casual observer, it looks for all the world as if the animals are dead. Their bodies are cold, they are utterly still and they take a breath only once every several minutes or so," said co-author Anne Yoder, director of the Duke Lemur Center.

Western dwarf lemurs hibernate in drafty tree holes, where their body temperature fluctuates by as much as 20 degrees with the outside air. But the researchers found that eastern dwarf lemurs keep their body temperatures more constant in cozy underground burrows.

The research suggests that lemur hibernation -- and therefore primate hibernation -- may not be so different after all. "Maybe these lemurs, though they live in the tropics, look more like temperate hibernators than we thought," Blanco said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karl Leif Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Good news for nanomedicine: Quantum dots appear safe in pioneering study on primates
2. Manipulation of a specific neural circuit buried in complicated brain networks in primates
3. Out of the mouths of primates, facial mechanics of human speech may have evolved
4. Transgenic technique to eliminate a specific neural circuit of the brain in primates
5. The old primates club: Even male monkeys ride their fathers coattails to success
6. Primate of the opera: What soprano singing apes on helium reveal about the human voice
7. Primates brains make visual maps using triangular grids
8. UTSA anthropologist honored for contributions researching primates in Africa
9. Discovered! The new species of Borneos enigmatic primate with a toxic bite
10. 3 new species of venomous primate identified by MU researcher
11. Primates too can move in unison
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... WASHINGTON , June 22, 2016 On ... highly-anticipated call to industry to share solutions for the ... by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that ... nationals are departing the United States ... criminals, and to defeat imposters. Logo - ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... prisons involved, it has secured the final acceptance ... facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, ... facilities to be installed by October, 2016. MAS ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... , June 15, 2016 ... report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry ... - 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture ... in 2015 and is estimated to grow at ... billion by 2024.  Increasing application of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new ... prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome ... in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The ... to advance its drug development efforts, as well as ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner to ... traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: