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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2021

Authors: Ruf, T; Vetter, SG; Painer, J; Stalder, G; Bieber, C

Title: Atypical for northern ungulates, energy metabolism is lowest during summer in female wild boars (Sus scrofa).

Source: Sci Rep. 2021; 11(1):18310

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Bieber Claudia
Painer-Gigler Johanna
Ruf Thomas
Stalder Gabrielle
Vetter Sebastian

Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology

Project(s): Wildtiermanagement im Klimawandel: Untersuchungen zur Thermoregulation beim Wildschwein

Typically, large ungulates show a single seasonal peak of heart rate, a proxy of energy expenditure, in early summer. Different to other large ungulates, wild boar females had peak heart rates early in the year (at ~‚ÄČApril, 1), which likely indicates high costs of reproduction. This peak was followed by a trough over summer and a secondary summit in autumn/early winter, which coincided with the mast seeding of oak trees and the mating season. Wild boars counteracted the effects of cold temperatures by decreasing subcutaneous body temperature by peripheral vasoconstriction. They also passively gained solar radiation energy by basking in the sun. However, the shape of the seasonal rhythm in HR indicates that it was apparently not primarily caused by thermoregulatory costs but by the costs of reproduction. Wild boar farrow early in the year, visible in high HRs and sudden changes in intraperitoneal body temperature of females. Arguably, a prerequisite for this early reproduction as well as for high energy metabolism over winter is the broad variety of food consumed by this species, i.e., the omnivorous lifestyle. Extremely warm and dry summers, as experienced during the study years (2017, 2018), may increasingly become a bottleneck for food intake of wild boar.¬© 2021. The Author(s).

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