The role of piloerection in primate thermoregulation

George Chaplin, Nina G. Jablonski, Robert W. Sussman, Elizabeth A. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The insulating properties of the primate integument are influenced by many factors, including piloerection, which raises the hair and insulates the body by creating motionless air near the skin's surface. The involuntary muscles that control piloerection, the musculi arrectores pilorum (MAP), are mostly absent except on the tail in most strepsirhines, and are entirely absent in tarsiers and some lorisids. The absence of piloerection and the reduced effectiveness of pilary insulation in preventing heat loss affected the evolution of behavior and metabolic thermoregulation in these animals. In lemurs, this situation contributed to the use of positional and social behaviors such as sunning and huddling that help maintain thermal homeostasis during day-night and seasonal temperature cycles. It also contributed in many lemurs and lorises to the evolution of a wide variety of activity patterns and energy-conserving metabolic patterns such as cathemerality, daily torpor, and hibernation. The absence of functional MAP in strepsirhines and tarsiers implies the absence of effective piloerection in early primates, and the reacquisition of whole-body MAP in ancestral anthropoids prior to the separation of platyrrhine and catarrhine lineages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalFolia Primatologica
Volume85
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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Tarsiidae
thermoregulation
Lemuridae
primate
hairs
Primates
torpor
Lorisidae
heat
hibernation
resting periods
insulating materials
social behavior
homeostasis
activity pattern
insulation
integument
hair
skin (animal)
skin

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Chaplin, George ; Jablonski, Nina G. ; Sussman, Robert W. ; Kelley, Elizabeth A. / The role of piloerection in primate thermoregulation. In: Folia Primatologica. 2014 ; Vol. 85, No. 1. pp. 1-17.
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The role of piloerection in primate thermoregulation. / Chaplin, George; Jablonski, Nina G.; Sussman, Robert W.; Kelley, Elizabeth A.

In: Folia Primatologica, Vol. 85, No. 1, 01.01.2014, p. 1-17.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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