THERMOREGULATION OF THE INTRA-ABDOMINAL TESTES OF THE
BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (
TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS
) DURING EXERCISE
Dolphins possess a vascular countercurrent heat
exchanger (CCHE) that functions to cool their intraabdominal
testes. Spermatic arteries in the posterior
abdomen are juxtaposed to veins returning cooled blood
from the surfaces of the dorsal fin and tail flukes. In this
study, we investigated the effect of exercise on CCHE
function in the bottlenose dolphin. The CCHE flanks a
region of the bowel in the posterior abdomen and influences
colonic temperatures. A rectal probe housing a linear array
of seven copper–constantan thermocouples was designed to
measure colonic temperatures simultaneously at positions
anterior to, within and posterior to the region of the colon
flanked by the CCHE. Immediately after vigorous
swimming, temperatures at the CCHE decreased relative
to resting and pre-swim values: post-swim temperatures at
the CCHE were maximally 0.5 °C cooler than pre-swim
temperatures. These data suggest that the CCHE has an
increased ability to cool the arterial blood supply to the
testes when the dolphin is swimming. This ability could
offset the increased thermal load on the testes in an
exercising dolphin. To the best of our knowledge, this is the
first report of deep body cooling

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