Homeothermy is thermoregulation that maintains a stable internal body temperature regardless of external influence. This temperature is often, though not necessarily, higher than the immediate environment (Greek: homoios = "similar", thermē = "heat"). The opposite is poikilothermy.

Advantages of homeothermy

Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

s have a relatively narrow temperature range at which their efficiencies are optimal. Temperatures outside this range can greatly reduce the rate of a reaction or stop it altogether. A creature with a fairly constant body temperature can therefore specialize in enzymes which are efficient at that particular temperature. Another advantage of a homeothermic animal is its ability to maintain its constant body temperature even in cold weather. A poikilotherm must either operate well below optimum efficiency most of the time, migrate, hibernate or expend extra resources producing a wider range of enzymes to cover the wider range of body temperatures.

However, some environments offer much more consistent temperatures than others. For example, the tropics often have seasonal variations in temperature that are smaller than their diurnal variations. In addition, large bodies of water, such as the ocean
An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.More than half of this area is over 3,000...

 and very large lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

s, have moderate temperature variations. The waters below the ocean surface are particularly stable in temperature.

Disadvantages of homeothermy

Because some homeothermic animals use enzymes which are specialized for a narrow range of body temperatures, hypothermia
Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as . Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation...

 rapidly leads to torpor
Torpor, sometimes called temporary hibernation is a state of decreased physiological activity in an animal, usually characterized by a reduced body temperature and rate of metabolism. Animals that go through torpor include birds and some mammals such as mice and bats...

and then death.
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