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Can heterothermy facilitate the colonization of new habitats? [Mammal Review]

Keywords: colonization, heterothermy, Madagascar, rafting, reproduction

by Frédéric Magné - published on , updated on

Increasing evidence shows that torpor in mammals is not only an effective adaptation for surviving predictable seasonal harsh conditions but is also employed as a response to acute emergency situations. This finding leads to the hypothesis that the ability to become heterothermic can also facilitate the colonization of new habitats, when mammals have to cross unsuitable, fragmented and/or food-scarce landscapes. This hypothesis was first suggested in the context of the colonization of Madagascar, and it has never been evaluated in detail. In this review, we discuss the potential of heterothermy to affect colonization possibilities in general and the colonization of Madagascar in particular.(...)

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