Characteristics Of Australian Desert Animals

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Register to read the introduction… Poikilotherms can only regulate temperature through behavioral modifications because their body temperatures vary with environmental temperature. Common poikilotherms are reptiles, such as snakes and lizards. While poikilotherms can only change their behavior in response to environmental stresses, homeotherms have the ability to regulate body temperature at the expense of a certain amount of energy. The energy expended is minimal however. Processes involving energy expenditure gain heat, so homeotherms must be efficient in order to have a net heat loss. Mammals and birds are examples of homeotherms. (Phillips, 84)

Temporal Niches & Lifestyles

Differences in temporal niches and habitats exist among Australian desert animals. An obvious way of behaviorally overcoming the heat is to be nocturnal, sleeping during the day and becoming active at night. Crepuscular animals take advantage of the cooler parts of the day by being active during mornings and evenings. However, diurnal
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Another characteristic enabling kangaroos to stay cool are long legs, which allow them to hold the core of their body away from the hot earth. (Costa, 50) Kangaroos have a strong tail for use as an extra leg to aid in hopping, reducing body stress and heat gain. Initially it takes a lot of energy to hop, but once they start going, it takes less energy in the long run. Perhaps, the spring of the tail stores energy for constant reuse for each hop. (Dawson, "Red Kangaroos," 41) Also to lessen heat load, internal organs may be reduced in size, as they are in wombats. (Barboza, 28) Each of these body characteristics functions to decrease heat gain or conserve

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