Q:

What is the difference between an ectotherm and an endotherm?

A:

Quick Answer

Endotherms produce their own heat; ectotherms rely on environmental heat. Most ectotherms are cold-blooded while most endotherms are warm-blooded, but there are exceptions. Mammals are endotherms, and reptiles and amphibians are ectotherms.

Know More
What is the difference between an ectotherm and an endotherm?
Credit: Peter Rowley CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

Ectotherms must absorb heat from their environment to maintain their body temperature, and the weather can have a profound effect on their behavior. However, they do not have to eat as much as their endotherm counterparts. Crocodiles and alligators, for example, can go weeks or months without eating, but they also remain inactive during most of the day and save their energy for eating, mating and protecting their territory. Endotherms, on the other hand, are able to produce far more energy but must eat regularly. Mammals tend to be more active than reptiles, but they must eat far more to survive.

Scientists are still not sure whether dinosaurs should be classified as endotherms or ectotherms. If dinosaurs were cold-blooded, they would have been far slower than many experts believe. If they were warm-blooded, they would have had to eat a tremendous amount of food. Many now believe that dinosaurs were neither true endotherms nor true ectotherms and had a unique metabolism. This may be why they died off while many reptiles and amphibians survived.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What does "warm-blooded" mean?

    A:

    "Warm-blooded" is used to describe animals that generate their own heat. Warm-blooded creatures are often called ectotherms. Mammals and birds are warm-blooded; reptiles and amphibians are cold-blooded.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of the anther?

    A:

    The function of the anther is to produce and bear the pollen of the flower. This structure sits atop a structure called a filament, and together these two structure constitute the flower's stamen. This is one of a typical flower's two main sexual organs, the other being the pistil, which contains the plant's ovaries.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between a chicken and a hen?

    A:

    A mature female chicken is called a hen, making the only difference between a chicken and a hen its sex and age. A mature male chicken is called a rooster, cock or roo.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between a moth and a miller?

    A:

    The terms "miller" and "moth" are basically interchangeable, as a "miller moth" refers to any kind of moth that abundantly appears in and around people's homes, but "moth" can be used as a blanket term for many other kinds of moths. One of the most well-known miller moths is located in Colorado as well as other adjacent states, and is the adult stage of an army cutworm.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore