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Are day-active small mammals rare and small birds abundant in Australian desert environments because small mammals are inferior thermoregulators?

Withers, P.C, Cooper, C.E. and Buttemer, W. A. 2004, Are day-active small mammals rare and small birds abundant in Australian desert environments because small mammals are inferior thermoregulators?, Australian mammalogy, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 117-124, doi: 10.1071/AM04117.

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Title Are day-active small mammals rare and small birds abundant in Australian desert environments because small mammals are inferior thermoregulators?
Author(s) Withers, P.C
Cooper, C.E.
Buttemer, W. A.
Journal name Australian mammalogy
Volume number 26
Issue number 2
Start page 117
End page 124
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic.
Publication date 2004
ISSN 0310-0049
1836-7402
Keyword(s) desert
rodents
marsupials
bats
nocturnal
diurnal
activity
birds
mobility
Summary Small desert birds are typically diurnal and highly mobile (hence conspicuous) whereas small non-volant mammals are generally nocturnal and less mobile (hence inconspicuous). Birds are more mobile than terrestrial mammals on a local and geographic scale, and most desert birds are not endemic but simply move to avoid the extremes of desert conditions. Many small desert mammals are relatively sedentary and regularly use physiological adjustments to cope with their desert environment (e.g., aestivation or hibernation). It seems likely that prey activity patterns and reduced conspicuousness to predators have reinforced nocturnality in small desert mammals. Differences such as nocturnality and mobility simply reflect differing life-history traits of birds and mammals rather than being a direct result of their differences in physiological capacity for tolerating daytime desert conditions.
Language eng
DOI 10.1071/AM04117
Field of Research 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2004, CSIRO
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30020922

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