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Otter Adaptations: How Do Otters Remain Sleek And Warm

Date:
September 4, 2005
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
How do otters stay warm without a thick layer of body fat? Using scanning electron microscopy and polarizing light microsopy, Penn cell biologist John W. Weisel examined the structure of otter hairs for clues to their exceptional insulation abilities. He found that the cuticle surface structure of the underhairs and base of the less-abundant guard hairs are distinctively shaped to interlock, with wedge-shaped fins or petals fitting into wedge-shaped grooves between fins of adjacent hairs.

Scanning electron micrographs of cuticle patterns of river otter underhairs. A-F: Increasingly higher magnification showing the fins, petal-like projections, and grooves on the hairs. Credit: John W. Weisel, Chandrasekaran Nagaswami, Rolf O. Peterson, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Michigan Technological University; NRC Research Press


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The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Otter Adaptations: How Do Otters Remain Sleek And Warm." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050819124510.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2005, September 4). Otter Adaptations: How Do Otters Remain Sleek And Warm. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050819124510.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Otter Adaptations: How Do Otters Remain Sleek And Warm." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050819124510.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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