Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

Thermoregulation and activity rhythms in the hairly-nosed wombats, Laisorhinus, latifrons (Owen), (Vombatidae)

RT Wells

Australian Journal of Zoology 26(4) 639 - 651
Published: 1978


L. latifrons is a burrower and is nocturnal in its habits. It occupies arid and semiarid areas of South Australia. Shifts in timing of nocturnal activity reduce exposure to high air temperatures in summer and low air temperatures in winter. Laboratory studies of thermoregulation indicated a range of thermal tolerance which corresponds closely to the range of temperatures over which wombats are active in the field. The upper limit was never exceeded in the field but wombats were often active at temperatures below the lower limit. A relatively labile body temperature in the lower range suggests a tolerance of hypothermia. The standard metabolic rate is very low, being 64% of that predicted for a marsupial of the wombat's weight.

© CSIRO 1978

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