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1 March 2005 Research Article: Temperature and photoperiod effects on activity of the northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda)
Angela J. Brandt, Timothy S. McCay
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Abstract

Changes in pattern of activity may help shrews survive harsh winter conditions. In particular, shrews may become less active and less nocturnal during winter. To better understand the mechanisms underlying the shrew response to winter conditions we measured several kinds of activity and an index of nocturnality (night-day ratio) for six northern short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda) in laboratory activity chambers. Experimental conditions were light:dark (L:D) cycles of 16:8 or 8:16 crossed with temperatures of 5°C or 19°C. Shrews were given unlimited food and prevented from hoarding. Feeding activity was greater (P < 0.001) and time spent out of the den was less concentrated during night (P = 0.021) at 5°C than 19°C. Overall activity did not vary with photoperiod or temperature, but shrews were more consistently active through the day at lower temperatures. Shrews may become less strictly nocturnal during winter because of the need to forage more frequently during the day. Food limitation and hoarding, which were not considered in this study, may be important factors affecting the reduced levels of activity during winter observed in other studies of shrews.

Angela J. Brandt and Timothy S. McCay "Research Article: Temperature and photoperiod effects on activity of the northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda)," BIOS 76(1), 9-14, (1 March 2005). https://doi.org/10.1893/0005-3155(2005)076[0009:RATAPE]2.0.CO;2
Received: 21 July 2004; Accepted: 1 December 2004; Published: 1 March 2005
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