Kangaroo Rat Conservation
Basic Information on Kangaroo Rats
Overview of Water Conservation in Kangaroo Rats
Kangaroo rats have evolved a unique ability to survive in arid, low productivity areas by reducing their water and energetic needs. These adaptations include adaptations of the urinary systems, morphological adaptations of other body systems, and various behavioral adaptations. In order to understand how these rodents have developed these adaptations, it is important to understand the problems facing kangaroo rats with respect to water loss.
Kangaroo rats live in arid environments, where rainfall is seasonal and sparse. These xeric environments have little primary production, and most of the available food sources (seeds and grains) contain little moisture. These conditions require the rodents to survive long periods with little to no water and sparse food resources. Furthermore, temperatures often reach up to 42.5 ° C during the day, putting additional stress on the animals’ conservation of water. Such conditions are particularly difficult on an endotherm, which generally must maintain higher metabolisms than ectotherms and therefore have higher water and energetic needs.
Metabolic Water Production
Often the only source of water available to Kangaroo Rats is water is metabolic water. Metabolic water is the water produced as a by product of the Krebs cycle, where glucose is converted into ATP and water. While metabolic water is normally a small input in an organisms overall water balance, Kangaroo Rats have developed such efficient water conservation that they are able to survive entirely on metabolic water.
Types of Water Loss
Mammals such as the kangaroo rat experience water loss in several different ways. The two main mechanisms by which water loss occurs are evaporative water loss and loss from waste excretion.
Mechanisms of Water Conservation
While Kangaroo rats are not able to eliminate these water losses, they are able to reduce them to a sufficient level where they can maintain an acceptable water balance.
|Questions or comments? Email me|