Size and Seasonal Change in Dimensions

  • Laurence Irving
Part of the Zoophysiology and Ecology book series (ZOOPHYSIOLOGY, volume 2)


Temperatures in the bodies of birds and mammals are specifically established and regulated to within a few degrees. Heat is produced by metabolism that, except in hibernation, does not normally fall below a basal level. As temperature of the environment changes, the various components of overall insulation vary the escape of metabolic heat in a manner that regulates the body temperature. Basal metabolic rates are related to size and they show no relation to climates. One component of overall insulation, the fur, is limited in thickness by the short stature of the small mammals, and the overall insulation of these small mammals is correspondingly limited. Among arctic mammals the size of a fox (Alopex lagopus), greater than 4 kg), fur and overall insulation suffice to maintain normal body temperature in any arctic weather.


Small Mammal Basal Metabolic Rate Polar Bear Harbor Seal Normal Body Temperature 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurence Irving
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of AlaskaFairbanksUSA

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