Key Difference – Diapause vs Hibernation
Hibernation is an adaptation that mammals possess in winter that makes them inactive and metabolically depressed. Diapause is another adaption that creates a temporary pause in the processes of growth and development of animals. Diapause takes place in adverse conditions during both winter and summer while hibernation takes place only during winter. This is the key difference between hibernation and diapause.
In the context of zoology, different animals possess different mechanisms to adapt to adverse environmental conditions. Unlike humans, most of the animals of the animal kingdom interact with the natural environment for their habitats in a close relationship. Seasonal changes and changes in weather patterns cause adverse effects on animals. So these animals naturally adapt to withstand these environmental changes. These adaptations include states of hibernation and diapause.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Diapause
3. What is Hibernation
4. Similarities Between Diapause and Hibernation
5. Side by Side Comparison – Diapause vs Hibernation in Tabular Form
What is Diapause?
Diapause is defined as a state in which animals undergo to protect themselves from adverse environmental conditions. During this stage, animals undergo a temporary pause in the processes of growth and development. Diapause takes place in animal groups such as insects, mites, and crustaceans. It also includes embryos of oviparous species of fish in the order Cyprinodontiformes. The main intention of diapause is to protect from adverse environmental conditions such as extreme temperature conditions like winter, droughts and low food availability.
It takes place during both summer and winter. The occurrence of diapause could take place at any stage of life. But it was found out that, the most prominent stage of diapause takes place during the immobile stage of pupae. The level of diapause changes with species. Diapause could also occur at active stages of life that undergo extensive migration (example: adult monarch butterfly). Diapause is initiated with a decrement of bodily concentrations of growth and molting hormones.
These fluctuations coincide with physical changes such as a change in temperature, day length and the availability of food. Unlike hibernation, diapause is a temporary effect for a short period of time. Diapause could be determined genetically. But a slight deviation occurs to this theory if the animal is raised under environmental conditions that are constant and favourable.
What is Hibernation?
Hibernation is defined as a state where the metabolic activity of animals reduce to a greater extent and lowers the body temperature that creates metabolically depressed conditions in them as an adaptation to withstand adverse environmental conditions during winter. This term, hibernation could be applied commonly to all types of dormant conditions develop by vertebrate animals. Therefore, hibernators include different types of fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals like bears. These mammals use dens as hibernating habitats during winter.
Reptiles and mammals do not lower their body temperatures greatly, and they are not considered as true hibernators. A true hibernator spends most of the time period of winter in a state, which is close to death. Unless close observations are made, the animal may appear dead. Their body temperature is close to 00 C. The rate of respiration becomes low where it becomes almost very few breaths per minute. The heart rate becomes barely perceptible with slow and gradual beats. The animal slowly awakes only when it is exposed a considerable amount of heat. Once it receives the needed warmth, it requires additional 1-2 hours to reach the alert state.
True hibernators are present in all types of animal groups. In mammals, they are only found in the groups such as Chiroptera, Insectivora and Rodentia. Chiroptera including bats, Insectivora including hedgehogs, and Rodentia including marmots and ground squirrels. The food sources for hibernating animals include reserved body fat and stored food. The den protects the animal from physical harms.
What are the Similarities Between Diapause and Hibernation?
- Both Diapause and Hibernation occur in different species mammals and insects.
- Both Diapause and Hibernation result in adapting the animal to withstand extreme environmental conditions.
- Both Diapause and Hibernation prevent the death of animals due to adverse effects on the environment.
- Both Diapause and Hibernation takes place during winter.
What is the Difference Between Diapause and Hibernation?
Diapause vs Hibernation
|Diapause is defined as a state in which creates a temporary pause in the processes of growth and development of animals as an adaptation to withstand adverse environmental conditions.||Hibernation is defined as a metabolically depressed state under very low temperatures that make the animals inactive to withstand extreme environmental conditions during winter.|
|Diapause occurs during both Summer and Winter.||Hibernation occurs only during Winter.|
|Amount of free water is reduced during diapauses.||No such adaptations occur in hibernation.|
|Temperature is not lowered up to greater extents during diapauses.||Temperature is lowered up to around 00C during hibernation.|
|Insects such as monarch butterflies and embryos of many oviparous species of fish show diapauses.||Mammals like bears, California pocket mouse, kangaroo mouse, bats, different insects and different species of birds and reptiles show hibernation.|
Summary – Diapause vs Hibernation
Animal kingdom possesses different adaptations to withstand extreme environmental conditions. Diapause and hibernation are such states that protect the animals from the adverse effects of the environment. Dispose is defined as a state in which animals undergo to protect themselves from adverse environmental conditions where they undergo a temporary pause in the processes of growth and development. It is a temporary effect. It takes place during both winter and summer. Hibernation is defined as a state in which that reduces the metabolic activity of animals to a greater extent and lowers the body temperature that creates metabolically depressed conditions as an adaptation to withstand adverse environmental conditions during winter. True hibernators only lower their body temperature up to 00C. This is the difference between diapauses and hibernation.
1.Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Hibernation.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 5 Jan. 2018. Available here
2.Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Diapause.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 31 May 2017. Available here