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Journal Article

Aestivation of the Salamander, Siren intermedia

Frederick R. Gehlbach, Roxanne Gordon and Judy B. Jordan
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 89, No. 2 (Apr., 1973), pp. 455-463
DOI: 10.2307/2424051
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2424051
Page Count: 9

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Topics: Aestivation, Fats, Cocoons, Heart rate, Weight loss, Water loss, Ponds, Specimens, Dormancy, Lipid metabolism
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Aestivation of the Salamander, Siren intermedia
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Abstract

A lesser siren (Siren intermedia) may burrow into the bottom of its drying pond and aestivate for several weeks to more than a year. During aestivation it secretes a mucous cocoon, its, oxygen consumption and heart rate drop significantly and duration of its righting response increases. The gills atrophy and the body shrinks as fat is metabolized at one-fifth the rate of aquatic sirens after 16 weeks of aestivation. Large individuals store more fat and consume less oxygen per unit weight than small ones; hence, they can survive much longer periods of aestivation. Upon inundation, lesser sirens become active within a day but do not reach pre-aestivational metabolic levels until feeding begins. Then they may require only 8-11 weeks to regain the weight lost during 16 weeks of aestivation.

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