Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wild Three-Toed Sloths Sleep 6 Hours Less Per Day Than Captive Sloths, First Electrophysical Recording Shows

Date:
May 14, 2008
Source:
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Summary:
In the first experiment to record the electrophysiology of sleep in a wild animal, three-toed sloths carrying miniature electroencephalogram recorders slept 9.63 hours per day -- 6 hours less than captive sloths did.

Sleeping Sloth.
Credit: Marcos Guerra, STRI

In the first experiment to record the electrophysiology of sleep in a wild animal, three-toed sloths carrying miniature electroencephalogram recorders slept 9.63 hours per day--6 hours less than captive sloths did, reports an international team of researchers working on the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Barro Colorado Island in Panama.

"We are fascinated that some species sleep far longer than others. If we can determine the reasons for variations in sleep patterns, we will gain insight into the function of sleep in mammals, including humans," said first author Niels Rattenborg, group leader of the Sleep and Flight Group at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology. "If animals behave differently in captivity (where all previous comparative studies were performed) than they do in the wild, measuring their brain activity in captivity can lead to the wrong conclusions."

The research team got around this problem by using a technique developed for monitoring brain activity in humans in conjunction with a newly developed miniature recorder for neurophysiological data in order to monitor sleep in the wild.

In addition to two brain activity sensors worn as a cap on their heads, three adult three-toed sloths, Bradypus variegatus, also were fitted with radio-telemetry collars and accelerometers so that their exact locations and movements could be monitored during the next three to five days. The activity of two other sloths was monitored via radio-telemetry collar alone, for approximately seven months using a unique Automated Radio Telemetry System in place on the island.

The placement of sensors on sloths living in treetops demonstrates the feasibility of understanding a complex behavior, such as sleep, in the intricate tropical forest environment. It also will lead to more refined, comparative sleep research.

"The beauty of the automated telemetry system is that it makes a new suite of animal behavior studies possible," said Martin Wikelski, director of the Max Plank Institute for Ornithology, researcher at Princeton University and research associate at the Smithsonian. "We certainly encourage researchers who would like to monitor animals in the wild to join our ongoing studies or initiate work using the system."

Authors represent the following institutions: Max Plank Institute for Ornithology, University of Ulm, University of Zurich, New York State Museum, Princeton University, e-obs Digital Telemetry and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Niels C. Rattenborg, Bryson Voirin, Alexei L. Vyssotski, Roland W. Kays, Kamiel Spoelstra, Franz Kuemmeth, Wolfgang Heidrich, Martin Wikelski. 2008. Sleeping outside the box: electroencephalographic measures of sleep in sloths inhabiting a rainforest. Royal Society journal Biology Letters. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2008.0203

Cite This Page:

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Wild Three-Toed Sloths Sleep 6 Hours Less Per Day Than Captive Sloths, First Electrophysical Recording Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513191934.htm>.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. (2008, May 14). Wild Three-Toed Sloths Sleep 6 Hours Less Per Day Than Captive Sloths, First Electrophysical Recording Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513191934.htm
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "Wild Three-Toed Sloths Sleep 6 Hours Less Per Day Than Captive Sloths, First Electrophysical Recording Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513191934.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins