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a. cold-blooded n. A cold-blooded animal


n. an animal whose body temperature varies with the temperature of its surroundings; any animal except birds and mammals [syn: ectotherm]


A poikilotherm is an organism whose internal temperature varies considerably. It is the opposite of a homeotherm, an organism which maintains thermal homeostasis. Usually the variation is a consequence of variation in the ambient environmental temperature. Many terrestrial ectotherms are poikilothermic. However some ectotherms remain in temperature-constant environments to the point that they are actually able to maintain a constant internal temperature (i.e. are homeothermic). It is this distinction that often makes the term "poikilotherm" more useful than the vernacular "cold-blooded", which is sometimes used to refer to ectotherms more generally.

Poikilothermic animals include types of vertebrate animals, specifically fish, amphibians, and reptiles, as well as a large number of invertebrate animals. The naked mole-rat is the only mammal that is currently thought to be poikilothermic.

Usage examples of "poikilotherm".

My little children are poikilotherms, they adjust to any heat, but I am with the birds, their quick hearts and mouths.