The role of behavioral, autonomous, and adaptive processes in the rodent’s thermoregulation
Keywords:adaptation, climate, Rodentia, survival
Meteorological variables are the main abiotic factors that directly influence reactions in rodent metabolism, activating the action of thermoregulatory mechanisms aimed at homeostasis and can involve several factors that work together to dissipate or conserve body heat. In this scenario, we aimed to address, synthetically, the main means that rodents have to adapt and survive faced with the thermoregulatory challenges posed by the environment in which they live. Among these processes, behavioral changes can occur in water and food intake, as well as voluntary displacement to environments offering greater thermal comfort. The autonomic processes involve innate mechanisms that act quickly to facilitate thermal exchange, such as sweating, respiratory evaporation, and changes in peripheral blood flow. Adaptation involves evolutionary processes that, in the long run, alter the morphophysiological characteristics of the epidermis and coat, in order to conserve or dissipate heat. Knowledge of the role of these processes in adaptive physiology is essential to understand how the thermal environment affects rodents and how deleterious effects are mitigated.
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