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Seymour, R.S. and Seely, M.K. 1996. The respiratory environment of the Namib Desert Golden Mole. Journal of Arid Environments, 32(4): 453–461


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The respiratory environment of the Namib Desert Golden Mole.

Summary / Notes:

rnWe measured the partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) in the interstitial gas surrounding the sand-swimming Namib moleEremitalpa granti namibensis. At a sand temperature of 26 °C, which produced a nearly maximal rate of oxygen consumption, thePO2near the noses of the animals averaged only 0·9 kPa (6·7 Torr) below the level in the free atmosphere. High oxygen availability was a result of the notably low metabolic rate in the 20 g mammals and the dry, porous and metabolically inactive nature of dune sand. A mathematical model indicated that normal mammals weighing 200 g or more could comfortably exist completely encased in dune sand. We concluded that the moles' small size and low metabolic rate are not adaptations to hypoxia or hypercapnia underground but are probably related to low food availability and the energetic cost of foraging in their desert environment. Keywords: mammal, mole, burrow, respiration, gas exchange, diffusion, allometry.

Year: 1996

Type: Journal Article

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140196396900385


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