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The Biology of Deserts$
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David Ward

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732754

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732754.001.0001

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Morphological, Physiological, and Behavioural Adaptations of Desert Animals to the Abiotic Environment

Morphological, Physiological, and Behavioural Adaptations of Desert Animals to the Abiotic Environment

Chapter:
(p.75) 4 Morphological, Physiological, and Behavioural Adaptations of Desert Animals to the Abiotic Environment
Source:
The Biology of Deserts
Author(s):

David Ward

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732754.003.0004

Animals can be considered as drought evaders, drought evaporators, or drought endurers. Evaders are small desert animals that avoid overheating of the body on hot sunny days and minimize the need for cooling by evaporative water loss. Evaporators depend on sufficient water intake to enable them to cool their body temperatures by evaporation. Few of these can survive in deserts, and those that do live on the edges of deserts. Endurers are usually very large animals that can endure high temperatures. Many desert animals employ heat shock proteins to minimize the effects of overheating and also use unique strategies to increase excretion of salts. Many related desert taxa employ a suite of characteristics that make them tolerant of high temperatures. To determine whether these characteristics are adaptive requires removing the effects of phylogeny to know which characteristics are special to desert environments.

Keywords:   heterothermy, torpor, body temperatures, metabolic rate, evaders, evaporators, wax blooms, countercurrent multipliers, heat shock proteins, burrows

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