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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Body temperature patterns during pregnancy and parturition in moose

Graesli, Anne Randi; Thiel, Alexandra; Fuchs, Boris; Stenbacka, Fredrik; Neumann, Wiebke; Malmsten, Jonas; Singh, Navinder J.; Ericsson, Goran; Arnemo, Jon M.; Evans, Alina L.

Abstract

Gestation and lactation have high energetic requirements. Up to three-fourths of the gestation period in moose (Alces alces) overlaps with the food-scarce period in winter. During this period, moose deal with the limited forage resources available through hypometabolism with decreased heart rate and body temperature (Tb). Body temperature is also an indicator of oestrus, pregnancy and parturition, which is well documented in several domestic species. In this study, we sought to determine if moose displayed a similar Tb pattern during pregnancy and parturition to domesticated ruminants, and if we could detect parturition by combining Tb and activity data. We studied the Tb pattern of 30 free-ranging adult female moose (>= 1.5 years old), equipped with ruminal temperature loggers and GPS collars. We documented a 0.13-0.19 degrees C higher Tb in pregnant compared to non-pregnant moose, depending on the study area with the Tb difference increasing along a south-north gradient, and a drop in Tb and in activity when parturition was imminent. Detection of parturition was highly successful when combining Tb and activity data with an accuracy of 91.5%. Our findings demonstrate that Tb responses to pregnancy and parturition in a wild capital-breeding ruminant are similar to those of domesticated ruminants.

Keywords

Moose; Alces alces; Pregnancy; Body temperature; Parturition; Biologger; Activity; Acceleration data; Changepoint analysis

Published in

Journal of Thermal Biology
2022, Volume: 109, article number: 103334Publisher: PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD