We had the pleasure of collaborating with the University of Queensland on this research project. Our collaborative work was published in the Journal of Australian Mammology, in August 2016.
To read the full article, please click here.
Also available online at DOI: 10.1071/AM15041
The southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) is a nocturnal, fossorial marsupial that has evolved a range of physiological and behavioural adaptations to its semiarid environment. This study describes long-term core body temperature (Tb) of L. latifrons in a population with opportunities for behavioural thermoregulation through burrow use.
Tb was measured hourly in 12 captive L. latifrons using implanted dataloggers over a 9-month period from late winter to late autumn. Data were examined for daily patterns, seasonal changes, sex differences and the relationship with environmental conditions (ambient temperature, den temperature and relative humidity).
Tb ranged from 30.9 to 38.8°C, and had a distinct nychthemeral rhythm, with peak temperatures occurring at night in line with nocturnal activity. Females had a higher mean Tb (34.9°C) than males (34.4°C).
The relationship between external ambient temperature and body temperature was negative, with body temperature decreasing as ambient temperature increased. This study is an important step towards a comprehensive picture of thermoregulation in L. latifrons, which may become vulnerable in the future if environmental temperatures rise and water availability decreases.