Seasonal Changes in Wolverine Body Temperature and Activity Identified
July 1. - 2019

Seasonal Changes in Wolverine Body Temperature and Activity Identified

Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are well adapted to the extreme conditions of their northern habitat. To learn more about the species’ ecophysiology, researchers at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Stockholm University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, studied changes in body temperature and activity of wolverine in Sweden.

Core body temperature and activity measured
14 wolverines in northern Sweden were implanted with Star-Oddi’s DST centi-T temperature logger, as well as a GPS collar with acceleration sensors. Core body temperature of the animals was recorded every 5, 10 or 15 minutes for 2-24 months.

Up to 6°C daily variation
In analyzing body temperature over the study period the animals' body temperature was found to be an average of 38.5°C (+/-0.2°C). Daily variation of body temperature could be up to 6°C and was found to vary depending on the animals’ reproductive state, with females showing a decreased body temperature during gestation.

Both body temperature and activity patterns changed depending on the season. During winter activity was concentrated to the short days while in autumn the animals showed peaks in activity around dusk and dawn.

Results help address future questions
With the help of biologgers, this study adds to our knowledge of the physiology and behaviour of animals adapted to life in cold environments. This knowledge can be important to address future questions, such as the potential effects of climate change and anthropological effects.

The paper was published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology and can be accessed here.

Picture: By William F. Wood - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0