The Pros and Cons of being an Ectotherm

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Ectotherms - An organism that relies on external sources of heat to regulate its body temperature


  • They use less of their food in respiration
  • They need to find less food and may be able to survive for long periods of time without eating
  • A greater proportion of the energy obtained from food can be used for growth.


  • They are less active in cooler temperatures and have to warm up in the morning sun before they are more active. This puts them at risk from predators.
  • They are not capable of activity during the winter as they can't warm up enough. They have to have sufficient stores of energy to survive over winter without eating.
  • They are unable to increase respiration rates to generate internal heat.


The body temperature of a ectotherm fluctuates with external temperatures but thay can successfully regulate their body temperature in all but extreme conditions.


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