The water metabolism of a small East African antelope: the dik-dik
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1. In controlled laboratory experiments, rectal temperature, cutaneous moisture evaporation, and respiratory rate were studied in the dik-dik. The water balance of the dik-dik was investigated when the antelope were either fully hydrated or dehydrated at the environ- mental temperature of 22 0C or at temperatures alternating between 22 0C and 40 0C at 12 h intervals. 2. Faecal, urinary and evaporative water losses were all reduced by varying degrees during dehydration at 22 0C and 22 to 40 'C. The highest urine osmolality recorded was 4318 + 105 mosmol/kg H20 which occurred when the antelopes were severely dehydrated. 3. At the high air temperatures (40 to 45 ?C) cutaneous evaporation measured with a non- ventilated sweat capsule was 19 g H20 rn-2 h-1 and the respiratory rate over 360/min. Thus the respiratory tract seems to be the major avenue for dissipating excess heat in dik-dik exposed to thermal stress. Injection of adrenaline, intravenously, stimulated sweat dis- charges similar to those observed in the small gazelles, and sheep and goats. 4. The low-water exchange and an efficient kidney helps explain the ability of this small antelope to inhabit hot arid areas.