The role of body mass in thermoregulation



Inbred Fisher and Buffalo rats were raised in small and in large litters and by such litter manipulation, large- and small-bodied animals were obtained within the same strain. When the rats were exposed to extreme cold and heat, it appeared that large-bodied rats in both strains survived longer in cold and small-bodied rats survived longer in heat. The two trends were clearly evident, and individual correlations between survival time and body mass were generally significant. However, there were also irregularities in such correlations. It is concluded that this is due to the fact that body mass is only one factor determining temperature tolerance in addition to hypothalamic, endocrine, and possibly neurochemical factors not known to be correlated to body mass.