oa African Zoology - A counter-current heat exchange system in the tail of the vervet monkey, Cercopithecus pygerythrus (Primata: Cercopithecidae)

Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Lightly anaesthetized vervet monkeys can maintain their body core-temperature by skin vasoconstriction and shivering when the environmental temperature is moderately lowered. Under such conditions the arterial blood supplying the tail skin is several degrees cooler than the core temperature and thus heat loss from the tail is reduced. The core-caudal artery temperature difference is most probably due to counter-current heat exchange between the median sacral and caudal artery and the median caudal veins above the sixth postsacral tail segment.The functional integrity of the sympathetic nervous system is necessary for effective control of the heat exchange system.

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