This paper presents the first report of a mammalian internal organ with a lower temperature than its abdominal surrounds. Heterocephalus glaber, the naked mole-rat, is a poikilothermic mammal that leads a strictly subterranean existence and consumes a high proportion of fibre in its diet. The fermentation chamber in these animals appears to absorb rather than generate heat and the temperature in it was consistently 1.2±0.5°C (n=17) lower than rectal temperature. A caecum with a lower temperature than its abdominal surrounds provides an internal heat sink which could be advantageous for metabolic heat dissipation in the plugged humid burrows in which the naked mole-rat permanently resides.
- Caecal temperature
- Mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology