Total body water and adaptive water turnover rate in four chromosomal species of subterranean mole rats of the Spalax ehrenbergi superspecies in Israel
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2009
Journal of Zoology
Volume 218, Issue 3, pages 461–469, July 1989
How to Cite
YAHAV, S., SIMSON, S. and NEVO, E. (1989), Total body water and adaptive water turnover rate in four chromosomal species of subterranean mole rats of the Spalax ehrenbergi superspecies in Israel. Journal of Zoology, 218: 461–469. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1989.tb02557.x
- Issue published online: 23 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2009
- Accepted 11 October 1988
Total body water (TBW) and water turnover rate (WTR) were measured in 24 subterranean mole rats comprising four populations, each belonging to a different chromosomal species of the Spalax ehrenbergi superspecies in Israel. The four species range in different climates: humid-cool (2n = 52); semiarid-cool (2n = 54); humid-warm (2n = 58) and arid-warm (2n = 60). TBW, as a percentage of body weight, measured by tritiated water (HTO), was 72.4%±4–7 in 2n = 52, significantly (P< 005) higher than the similar estimates 61.7%± 7.2, and 59.4%± 5–3, for 2n = 60 and 58, respectively. A comparison of HTO space, as a percentage of TBW, closely approximated TBW, ranging from 97% to 108%. WTR was high, 218.1 and 230.9 ml/kg0-75/day in the mesic populations of 2n = 58 and 52, respectively. By contrast, WTR estimates were significantly lower, (P < 0.001), 150.2 and 148.9 ml/kg0-75/day in the xeric populations of 2n = 54 and 60, respectively. The biological half-life time, T1/2, was similar and faster, 32.7 and 27.9 hours in the mesic populations of 2n = 52 and 58, as compared with slower, 47.9 and 40.8 hours in the xeric populations of 2n = 54 and 60, respectively. Urine osmolarity in the most xeric northern Negev steppic population of 2n = 60 (737 ± 45 mmol/kg) was significantly (P < 0.001) higher than in the other species.
We conclude that adaptive radiation in the Spalax ehrenbergi superspecies involves speciation in semiarid (2n = 54) and arid (2n = 60) climates by physiological adaptations of kidney water conservation, along with multiple morphological, physiological and behavioural syndromes of climatic adaptations to increasing aridity (Nevo, 1986).