Zoological Studies

Vol. 58, 2019

(update: 2019.04.25; 05.22)

Physiological and Biochemical Thermoregulatory Responses in Male Chinese Hwameis to Seasonal Acclimatization: Phenotypic Flexibility in a Small Passerine

Ying Wang1,, Shuangshuang Shan1,, Haodi Zhang1, Beibei Dong1, Weihong Zheng1,2, and Jinsong Liu1,2,*


1College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou 325035, China. *Correspondence: E-mail: ljs@wzu.edu.cn (Liu)
2Zhejiang Provincial Key Lab for Subtropical Water Environment and Marine Biological Resources Protection, Wenzhou 325035, China

YW and SS contributed equally to this work
Received 23 October 2018 / Accepted 24 March 2019
Communicated by Shou-Hsien Li

Many small birds living in regions with seasonal fluctuations and ambient temperatures typically respond to cold by increasing metabolic thermogenesis, internal organ mass and the oxidative capacity of certain tissues. In this study, we investigated seasonal adjustments in body mass, resting metabolic rate (RMR), evaporative water loss (EWL), the mass of selected internal organs, and two indicators of cellular aerobic respiration (mitochondrial state-4 respiration and cytochrome c oxidase activity) in Chinese hwamei (Garrulax canorus) that had been captured in summer or winter, from Wenzhou, China. RMR and EWL were higher in winter than in summer. State-4 respiration in the heart, liver, kidneys and pectoral muscle, as well as cytochrome c oxidase activity in the liver, kidneys and pectoral muscle were also higher in winter than summer. In addition, there was a positive correlation between RMR and EWL, and between RMR and indicators of cellular metabolic activity in the heart, liver, kidneys and pectoral muscle. This phenotypic flexibility in physiological and biochemical thermoregulatory responses may be important to the hwamei’s ability to survive the unpredictable, periodic, cold temperatures commonly experienced in Wenzhou in winter.

Key words: Chinese hwamei (Garrulax canorus), Cytochrome c oxidase, Evaporative water loss, Organ mass, Resting metabolic rate, State-4 respiration.

Citation: Wang Y, Shan S, Zhang H, Dong B, Zheng W, Liu J. 2019. Physiological and biochemical thermoregulatory responses in male Chinese hwameis to seasonal acclimatization: phenotypic flexibility in a small passerine. Zool Stud 58:6. doi:10.6620/ZS.2019.58-06.