The Use Of Aestivation And Vertebrate Animals

1250 WordsNov 27, 20165 Pages
Introduction Aestivation is derived from Latin: aestas, summer, but also spelled aestivation in American English is a state of animal dormancy, similar to hibernation, characterized by inactivity and a lowered metabolic rate that is entered in response to high temperatures and arid conditions. It takes place during times of heat and dryness, the hot dry season, which are often the summer months. [1] Mechanism of Aestivation Invertebrate and vertebrate animals are known to enter this state to avoid damage from high temperatures and the risk of desiccation. Both terrestrial and aquatic animals undergo aestivation. Organisms that aestivate appear to be in a fairly "light" state of dormancy, as their physiological state can be rapidly reversed, and the organism can quickly return to a normal state. A study done on Otala lactea, a snail native to parts of Europe and Northern Africa shows that they can wake from their dormant state within ten minutes of being introduced to a wetter environment. Fossil records show that the act of aestivating may be several hundred million years old. The primary physiological and biochemical concerns for an aestivating animal are to conserve energy, retain water in the body, ration the use of stored energy, handle the nitrogenous end products, and stabilize bodily organs, cells, and macromolecules. This can be quite a task as hot temperatures and arid conditions may last for months. The depression of metabolic rate during aestivation causes a

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