Aestivation or Estivation

Aestivation is a survival strategy used by many vertebrates and invertebrates to endure arid environmental conditions. Key features of aestivation include strong metabolic rate suppression, strategies to retain body water, conservation of energy and body fuel reserves, altered nitrogen metabolism, and mechanisms to preserve and stabilize organs, cells and macro molecules over many weeks or months of dormancy. Cell signaling is crucial to achieving both a hypo metabolic state and reorganizing multiple metabolic pathways to optimize long-term viability during aestivation.

Aestivation or Estivation is almost similar to hibernation, but the distinct critical point is that aestivation is the summer sleep. It occurs to the animals living in deserts or tropical areas. It occurs because of the hot and dry climate as well as due to the lack of food and water.

At the summer season or when the lake gets dried, the fish gets itself buried into the mud and when the mud of the lake starts getting dry, the fish secrets lots of mucus to cover the entire body, this mucus work like a sac and provide moisture and shelter until the whole dry season. During this, the fish breathe through the mucous tube.


Difference Between Hibernation and Aestivation

Comparison Hibernation Aestivation
Meaning Hibernation is the type of winter sleep, performed by the warm and cold-blooded animals. It is the type of summer sleep, performed by cold-blooded animals.
Duration It is for the whole winter. It is of short duration.
Process As hibernation is the sleep during the winter, the animals look out for the warmer place, their metabolic activities slow down, and it is the dormant stage. Aestivation is a summer sleep, so animals search for the moist, shady and cool place to sleep.
Examples Bats, birds, mammals, insects, etc. Bees, snails, earthworms, salamanders, frogs, earthworms, crocodiles, tortoise, etc.
Importance Hibernation helps in maintaining the body temperature and thus avoids from any internal body damage due to low temperatures. Aestivation also helps in maintaining the body temperature by avoiding the excessive water loss and any internal body damaged due to high temperatures.