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Physiological And Biochemical Zoology


Previous studies have shown that whole-animal thermal responses of ectotherms and heterotherms (e.g., hibernators), both of which experience a wide range of body temperatures, are related to the saturation level of somatic lipids, which in turn can be influenced by the ratio of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in the diet. This study demonstrates that Djungarian hamsters held in long days display ambient temperature dependent choice of dietary fats, increasing their preference for saturated fats when ambient temperature increases ( to 27 degreesC) and later reversing this preference when ambient temperature is returned to its original value ( 8 degreesC). Changes in percent contribution of the unsaturated and saturated diets in response to temperature were accomplished almost solely by changes in the amount of unsaturated diet consumed. Temperature-dependent fatty acid choice occurs at a stage in the annual cycle when Djungarian hamsters do not enter spontaneous daily torpor and therefore experience only small changes in core body temperature. These results suggest that temperature-dependent fatty acid choice may occur in a wide range of animals, including nonheterothermic endotherms.


This work is freely available courtesy of University of Chicago Press.

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