AB 6:143-152 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00176

Infrared thermography of the body surface in the Eurasian otter Lutra lutra and the giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis

Rachel A. Kuhn1,2, Wilfried Meyer3,*

1Aktion Fischotterschutz e.V., Otter-Zentrum, 29386 Hankensbüttel, Germany
2Institute of Zoology, University of Hamburg, Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
3Institute for Anatomy, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, Germany
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The body surface temperatures of the Eurasian otter Lutra lutra and the tropical giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis were studied based on detailed infrared thermography. The Eurasian otter mainly used its feet to dissipate excess heat, whereas the giant otter lost more heat from the whole body and tail. In both species, the temperature at the surface of the feet tended to decrease to a temperature similar to that of the water when the animal was submerged. The same was observed for the tail of the giant otter, and of the Eurasian otter during winter. In the Eurasian otter, temperatures of the air layer trapped within the fur were >10°C above the temperature of the ambient air or water. A specific heating of sensory organs on the head could be observed.


KEY WORDS: Otter · Lutra lutra · Pteronura brasiliensis · Infrared thermography · Thermoregulation · Thermal windows


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Cite this article as: Kuhn RA, Meyer W (2009) Infrared thermography of the body surface in the Eurasian otter Lutra lutra and the giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis. Aquat Biol 6:143-152. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00176

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