Homeostasis in Desert Reptiles

  • S. Donald Bradshaw

Part of the Adaptations of Desert Organisms book series (DESERT ORGAN.)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XI
  2. S. Donald Bradshaw
    Pages 1-7
  3. S. Donald Bradshaw
    Pages 9-19
  4. S. Donald Bradshaw
    Pages 21-71
  5. S. Donald Bradshaw
    Pages 73-122
  6. S. Donald Bradshaw
    Pages 123-165
  7. S. Donald Bradshaw
    Pages 167-173
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 175-215

About this book


Deserts, whether hot or cold, are considered to be one of the most difficult environments for living systems, lacking the essential free water which ac­ counts for approximately 60-70% of their body mass and more than 98% of their constituent atoms {Macfarlane 1978}. Amongst vertebrates, reptiles are usually thought of as the animals most adapted or suited to such environments because of their diurnal habit, based on a need for external heat, and their ability to survive far from obvious sources of water. This impression is rein­ forced when one examines the composition of vertebrate faunae characteristic of deserts and arid zones: reptiles predominate and they are often the only vertebrates to be found in hyper-arid areas, such as some parts of the Sahara {Monod 1973}. I recently had occasion to examine this assumption carefully, however, and was led inexorably to the conclusion that reptiles represent a particularly successful desert group, not because of their evolution of superior adaptations, but because of their possession of a basic suite of behavioural and physiologi­ cal characteristics that suit them uniquely to this very resource-limited environment {Bradshaw 1986a}. These fundamental reptilian characteristics are: 1. their low rates of metabolism, compared with birds and mammals, which result in extremely low rates of resource utilisation and lead to considerable economy in the handling of water 2.


Herpetologie Reptilien Wüste adaptation adaption desert ecophysiology environment herpetology homeostasis mammals osmoregulation physiology reptiles Ökophysiologie

Authors and affiliations

  • S. Donald Bradshaw
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-3-642-64368-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-642-60355-6
  • Series Print ISSN 1430-9432
  • Buy this book on publisher's site