Differential energy costs of winter acclimatized common spiny mice Acomys cahirinus from two adjacent habitats

Michael Scantlebury, Uri Shanas, Hagai Kupshtein, John R. Speakman, Abraham Haim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The common spiny mouse Acomys cahirinus, of Ethiopian origin, has a widespread distribution across arid, semi-arid and Mediterranean parts of the Arabian sub-region. We compared the daily energy expenditure (DEE), water turnover (WTO) and sustained metabolic scope (SusMS=DEE/resting metabolic rate) of two adjacent populations during the winter. Mice were captured from North- and South- facing slopes (NFS and SFS) of the same valley, comprising mesic and xeric habitats, respectively. Both DEE and SusMS winter values were greater in NFS than SFS mice and were significantly greater than values previously measured in the summer for these two populations in the same environments. However, WTO values were consistent with previously established values and were not significantly different from allometric predictions for desert eutherians. We suggest that physiological plasticity in energy expenditure, which exists both temporally and spatially, combined with stable WTO, perhaps reflecting a xeric ancestry, has enabled A. cahirinus to invade a wide range of habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-423
Number of pages5
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from the Israel Science Foundation, Israel Academy of Science and Humanities to AH (298/97-2) and from the Royal Society (SV/ISR/NVB) and British Ecological Society (SEPG-1878) to MS. We would like to thank the two anonymous referees for their helpful and constructive comments with which this manuscript was greatly improved.


  • Acomys
  • Body temperature
  • Desert
  • Doubly labelled water
  • Ecophysiology
  • Energy
  • Evolution
  • Resting metabolic rate
  • Thermoregulation
  • Water turnover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology


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