, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 151-156

Night roosting and the nocturnal time budget of the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus: Effects of reproductive status, prey density, and environmental conditions

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Summary

The insectivorous bat Myotis lucifugus typically apportions the night into two foraging periods separated by an interval of night roosting. During this interval, many bats occupy roosts that are used exclusively at night and are spatially separate from maternity roosts. The proportion of the night which bats spend roosting, and thus the proportion spent foraging, vary both daily and seasonally in relation to the reproductive condition of the bats, prey density, and ambient temperature. A single, continuous night roosting period is observed during pregnancy. During lactation, females return to maternity roosts between foraging bouts, and night roosts are used only briefly and sporadically. Maximum use of night roosts occurs in late summer after young become volant. Superimposed upon these seasonal trends is day-to-day variation in the bats' nightly time budget. Long night roosting periods and short foraging periods are associated with cool nights and low prey density. This behavioral response may minimize energetic losses during periods of food scarcity.