Certain organisms survive the periodic harsh conditions like environmental changes, scarcity of food, temperature changes, etc. by going into a dormant state. It is the state characterized by minimum or no metabolic activity in the body of the organism. Dormancy is a temporary phase in which an animal’s physical activity, growth and development are paused. This helps the organisms to conserve energy by practically being inactive or sleeping through the harsh phase. The kind of dormancy varies from organism to organism. Some go into hibernation state in which animals remain in a dormant state with the fall in temperature. On the other hand, diapause is a state of dormancy mostly seen in insects in which the growth of the insect is suspended for a while.
Let’s learn more about hibernation and diapause and the major difference between them in this section.
Diapause Vs Hibernation
Diapause is often seen in insects during its developmental stages. It is a state in which the development of the organisms stops spontaneously by reduction of metabolic activity. It is a period of suspended development in the growing organisms. It may occur at any stage of development of the insect but it is mostly seen in the pupa stage. Diapause occurs when the level of growth hormones decreases in the body of the organism. Thus, it is similar to hibernation but is marked by a pause in the developmental stages of the organism.
It is a state of minimum metabolic activity in the body of the organism. Hibernation is seasonal and is characterized by low body temperature, lower heart activity, low metabolic rate and so on. It is seen in some endotherms during the wintertime. In this time, the organisms that hibernate go into a state that resembles deep sleep so that their metabolism comes down and they burn less energy.
In the state of hibernation, the organism slows its breathing, temperature and other vital functions that burn energy. It is mostly a response by the body of organisms to non-availability of food and low temperature. It may last from a few weeks to months. Rodents like groundhogs mostly go into hibernation. Other examples are bears, bats, ground squirrels, etc. To hibernate, animals have to eat as much as possible. They eat more and build extra fat layers so that these fat layers are broken down in the hibernation state to survive.
Difference Between Diapause and Hibernation