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Different temperature relations of two species of toads that coexist at the border of their geographical distributions

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Temperature relations of two species of toads (Bufo viridis and Bufo regularis) that overlap at the border of their geographical distributions were studied in the laboratory in temperatures between 25°C and 2°C. Bufo regularis, a tropical species, could not survive at low temperatures that eventually led to its death in 1-2 days. The two species did not differ in their cooling and heating rates. At temperatures below 8-10°C, Bufo viridis maintained a body temperature that was higher than ambient by 1-2°C, while body temperature of Bufo regularis equaled that of the environment. In Bufo regularis heart beats ceased at low temperatures (< 4°C), whereas in Bufo viridis at the same temperature, a rate of 6-9 beats/min was sustained. Our experiments suggest that Bufo viridis is endowed with particular capacities that allow it to remain active at low temperatures, while in Bufo regularis, a temperature-sensitive central mechanism seems to be damaged at low temperature. The ability of Bufo viridis to endure low temperatures and to remain active in this condition is specific to the species, and is not related directly to the immediate ecological situation of the animal.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel


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