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An organism, such as a fish or reptile, having a body temperature that varies with the temperature of its surroundings.

[Greek poikilos, spotted, various; see peig- in Indo-European roots + -therm.]

poi′ki·lo·ther′mi·a (-thûr′mē-ə), poi′ki·lo·ther′my (-thûr′mē) n.
poi′ki·lo·ther′mic (-mĭk) adj.


(Animals) an organism with poikilothermic qualities
(Zoology) a variant form of poikilothermic
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.poikilotherm - an animal whose body temperature varies with the temperature of its surroundings; any animal except birds and mammals
animal, animate being, beast, creature, fauna, brute - a living organism characterized by voluntary movement
References in periodicals archive ?
It was once common to make a distinction between warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals, but this terminology has been abandoned, since the lizard, for example, theoretically a cold-blooded animal, can have a body temperature much higher than we humans, who are technically warm-blooded beings
Prof David Polly, from Indiana University, reckons the length of the cold-blooded animal is linked to the atmosphere's temperature.
a cold-blooded animal (as a snake, lizard, turtle, or alligator) that breathes air and usually has the skin covered with scales or bony plates
Animal experts said the cold-blooded animal was "highly unlikely" to attack anybody, but added that it was also unlikely to survive outside for long in winter weather.
No cold-blooded animal living today could survive those temperatures.
She's a cold-blooded animal, and without heat she would have died.
People who buy reptiles also must know what they're doing, because keeping a cold-blooded animal healthy and happy is a lot more complicated than sticking it in a discarded fish tank with a few morsels of food.
But now, using computer models of how bodies work, they have decided the energy needed to move dinosaurs' huge legs couldn't have been produced by a cold-blooded animal.
At first glance, it might seem hopeless for a cold-blooded animal to try to incubate its eggs.
Even if the largest dinosaurs had the metabolism of a cold-blooded animal, they were much heavier than the new study would predict.
During tactile contact with man, snakes share their internal heat, despite the fact that this is a cold-blooded animal.
That is, the larger the cold-blooded animal is, the less muscle power is generated.