Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Body Temperatures of Selected Amphibian and Reptile Species – via Herp Digest

Matthew Raske, D.V.M., Gregory A. Lewbart, M.S., V.M.D., Dipl. A.C.Z.M., Daniel S. Dombrowski, M.S., D.V.M., Peyton Hale, B.S., Maria Correa, Ph.D., and Larry S. Christian, B.S. 
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 43(3):517-521. 2012 
From the Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607, USA (Raske, Lewbart, Dombrowski, Christian); Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607, USA (Correa); and North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601, USA (Christian, Dombrowski, Hale). Present address (Raske): The Animal Medical Center, 510 E. 62nd Street, New York, New York 10065.
Correspondence should be directed to Dr. Lewbart (
Ectothermic vertebrates are a diverse group of animals that rely on external sources to maintain a preferred body temperature. Amphibians and reptiles have a preferred optimal temperature zone that allows for optimal biological function. Physiologic processes in ectotherms are influenced by temperature; these animals have capabilities in which they make use of behavioral and physiologic mechanisms to thermoregulate. Core body, ambient air, body surface, and surface/water temperatures were obtained from six ectothermic species including one anuran, two snakes, two turtles, and one alligator. Clinically significant differences between core body temperature and ambient temperature were noted in the black rat snake, corn snake, and eastern box turtle. No significant differences were found between core body and ambient temperature for the American alligator, bullfrog, mata mata turtle, dead spotted turtle, or dead mole king snake. This study indicates some ectotherms are able to regulate their body temperatures independent of their environment. Body temperature of ectotherms is an important component that clinicians should consider when selecting and providing therapeutic care. Investigation of basic physiologic parameters (heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature) from a diverse population of healthy ectothermic vertebrates may provide baseline data for a systematic health care approach.

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