Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 188, Issue 6, pp 1005–1014 | Cite as

Individual variation of daily torpor and body mass change during winter in the large Japanese field mouse (Apodemus speciosus)

  • Takeshi Eto
  • Shinsuke H. Sakamoto
  • Yoshinobu Okubo
  • Yasuhiro Tsuzuki
  • Chihiro Koshimoto
  • Tetsuo MoritaEmail author
Original Paper


Daily torpor is a strategy used by some overwintering small endotherms to aid in energy conservation. However, the pattern of torpor varies among individuals within species and populations, even under the same environmental conditions, with significant implications for survival rate and reproductive success. Body mass is one factor that may influence this variation, especially in some small mammals that accumulate fat stores prior to overwintering. However, to our knowledge there has been no previous study examining the detailed relationships between torpor expression and body mass change in small mammals that hoard food as an energy resource during winter. The large Japanese field mouse, Apodemus speciosus, whose winter survival strategy depends on food caches instead of fat stores, displays daily torpor under artificial winter conditions (short-day photoperiod and cold). The present study clarifies the characteristics and patterns of daily torpor and body mass change in this species in the laboratory. Although expression of daily torpor was facilitated progressively as in other species, the observed patterns of torpor expression and body mass change showed considerable individual variation. Moreover, there was no obvious correlation between body mass and daily torpor expression. Therefore, it is suggested that in A. speciosus body mass may not contribute to individual variation of daily torpor during winter. Daily torpor during winter may be adjusted by not only mechanisms common to other small mammals, but also species-specific factors relating to the external or internal reserves of energy in small mammals.


Apodemus speciosus Body mass Body temperature Daily torpor Individual variation Winter adaptation 



We would like to thank Mr. Ryousuke Ozaki for help with field research, and Ms. Ayano Oka and Mr. Rintaroh Hayashi for their help with animal maintenance. We also thank anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All animal procedures were approved by the Animal Experimentation Committee of the University of Miyazaki (Permission Nos. 2005-053 and 2012-002).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takeshi Eto
    • 1
    • 4
  • Shinsuke H. Sakamoto
    • 2
  • Yoshinobu Okubo
    • 1
  • Yasuhiro Tsuzuki
    • 2
  • Chihiro Koshimoto
    • 3
  • Tetsuo Morita
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Agriculture and Engineering, Kibana CampusUniversity of MiyazakiMiyazakiJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Agriculture, Kibana CampusUniversity of MiyazakiMiyazakiJapan
  3. 3.Division of Bio-Resources, Frontier Science Research Center, Kiyotake CampusUniversity of MiyazakiMiyazakiJapan
  4. 4.Center for Toki and Ecological RestorationNiigata UniversityNiigataJapan

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