Estivation, also known as aestivation, is a biological phenomenon observed in certain animals as a response to high temperatures or drought-like conditions.
During estivation, these animals enter a prolonged period of dormancy or inactivity, typically lasting for an entire season. This behavior helps them conserve energy and water during challenging environmental conditions.
How Does Estivation Work?
Animals practicing estivation often seek shelter in cool underground burrows, crevices, or cocoons. In this sheltered environment, they reduce their metabolic activity, slowing down their energy consumption rate.
Estivation also serves as a defense mechanism against desiccation, preventing extreme dryness of the skin, and lowers the risk of predation.
Examples of Estivating Animals:
West African Lungfish: This species burrows into mud and secretes a protective cocoon of mucus during droughts.
Desert Tortoises: They dig burrows and retreat into them during hot summer months to escape the heat.
Land Snails: Many land snails seal themselves inside their shells with a mucous plug and remain inactive until conditions outside become more favorable.
Estivation is a fascinating adaptation that allows these animals to survive and thrive in challenging environmental conditions.
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