Definition of ectotherm in US English:



  • An animal that is dependent on external sources of body heat.

    Often contrasted with endotherm
    Compare with poikilotherm
    • ‘Thus, perhaps the commonly asked question whether dinosaurs were ectotherms or endotherms is inappropriate, and it is more constructive to ask which dinosaurs were likely to have been endothermic and which ones ectothermic.’
    • ‘Ecological studies suggest that today's endotherms (mammals and birds) generally outcompete ectotherms in their area.’
    • ‘With regard to the distance traveled before exhaustion, intermittent locomotion can have greater consequences for ectotherms than endotherms.’
    • ‘It is conceivable, therefore, that during the evolution of endothermy there existed a continuum of physiological constitutions that were intermediate to those known from typical ectotherms and endotherms today.’
    • ‘The papers cover a substantial range of physiological systems and numerous types of organisms, including ectotherms and endotherms, vertebrates, insects, plants, and bacteria.’