Seasonal variation in the resting metabolic rate of male wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus from two contrasting habitats 15 km apart

J Comp Physiol B. 1997 Apr;167(3):229-39. doi: 10.1007/s003600050069.


Diurnal and nocturnal resting metabolic rates of winter- and summer-acclimatized adult male wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus from two adjacent populations, 15 km apart, were measured. One population lived in deciduous woodland, and experienced a narrower daily range of temperatures than the second population, which inhabited maritime sand-dunes. Ambient temperature and body mass had significant effects on the resting metabolism of mice, excluding winter-acclimatized sand-dune animals where only temperature explained significant amounts of the observed variation. Only in this latter group could a thermoneutral zone be determined, with a lower critical temperature of ca. 25 degrees C and resting metabolism of 0.155 W. Nocturnal resting metabolic rates were significantly greater than diurnal levels. Winter acclimatization was associated with reductions in thermal conductance and resting metabolism, thus minimizing energy expenditure at rest. Site differences in thermoregulatory strategies were only found in winter, thermal conductances remained similar but mice from the sand-dunes had significantly lower metabolic rates than those from the woodland. Winter acclimatization in wood mice was influenced by factors in addition to photoperiod. Intra-specific and individual variations in resting metabolism, as shown in this study, potentially have a pronounced effect on the daily energy expenditure of a free-living animal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology
  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism / physiology*
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Ecology
  • Male
  • Muridae / metabolism*
  • Photoperiod
  • Regression Analysis
  • Seasons*
  • Temperature