Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 176, Issue 3, pp 223–231 | Cite as

Seasonal changes in daily torpor patterns of free-ranging female and male Daubenton’s bats (Myotis daubentonii)

Original Paper

Abstract

Daily torpor can provide significant energy and water savings in bats during cold ambient temperatures and food scarcity. However, it may reduce rates of foetal and juvenile development. Therefore, reproductive females should optimize development by minimizing times in torpor. To test this hypothesis, the use of torpor by female and male free-ranging Daubenton’s bats (Myotis daubentonii) during reproduction (gestation, lactation, and post-lactation period) was investigated in 1998 and 1999. Temperature-sensitive radio transmitters were attached to the bats to measure skin temperature. Simultaneously, ambient temperature was recorded. While both sexes became torpid during daytime, male bats used daily torpor (>6°C below individual active temperature) significantly more often during reproductive period (mean: 78.4 % of day time in May and 43 % in June) than females. Female bats went into daily torpor, particularly in late summer when juveniles were weaned (mean: 66.6 % of daytime). Lowest skin temperatures occurred in a female bat with 21.0°C during post-lactation. Skin temperatures of male bats fluctuated from 16.8°C in torpor to 37.2°C during times of activity. There was a significant effect of reproductive period on skin temperature in females whereas mean ambient temperature had no significant effect. However, mean ambient temperature affected mean skin temperatures in males. Our findings indicate that female Daubenton’s bats adopt their thermoregulatory behaviour in particular to optimize the juvenile development.

Keywords

Chiroptera Myotis daubentonii Torpor Thermoregulation Skin temperature 

Abbreviations

DEE

Daily energy expenditure

Ta

Ambient temperature

Ts

Skin temperature

Preg

Pregnant

Lac

Lactating

post-lac

Post-lactating

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the help of all the people who supported the time intensive field-work. We are particularly grateful to Dr. Jutta Schmid, Dr. Jorge Encarnação, Sabine Springer and two anonymous referees, who greatly improved the manuscript by valuable comments. Handling of Daubenton’s bats was done under licence from the nature conservancy department of the Regierungspräsidium Gießen.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimental EcologyUniversity of UlmUlmGermany
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaPanamá

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