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From Latin brūma (winter solstice) + -tiō, by analogy with hibernation.[1]



brumation (uncountable)

  1. (biology) A lethargic state that some ectothermic animals, such as many reptiles, assume during cold conditions. Partly analogous to hibernation, but physiological differences include that brumation does not depend on stored fat, but rather on reduced metabolic activity.


  1. ^ Wilbur W. Mayhew (1965 September) “Hibernation in the Horned Lizard Phrynosoma m’calli”, in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, volume 16, no. 1, →DOI, page 116:
    it seems advisable to have one term to designate winter dormancy in heterotherms and another for such [in] ectotherms. Hibernation has been used to denote this condition in heterotherms particularly, so it seems best to retain this term for that group of vertebrates. Therefore, I propose the terms brumation (from bruma, L. winter) to indicate winter dormancy in ectothermic vertebrates that demonstrate physiological changes which are independent of body temperature.