Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shifts in physiological mechanisms let male bats balance the need to feed and the urge to breed

Date:
April 15, 2013
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
New research reveals shifts in the mechanisms bats use to regulate metabolism throughout their seasonal activity period.

Bats must carefully balance physiological mechanisms in response to variation in factors such as ambient temperature, availability of food, and mating requirements. Myotis daubentonii funnels a prey insect with the aid of the wing into the tail pouch to eat it during flight.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Chicago Press Journals

As small and active flying mammals, bats have very high mass-specific energy requirements and as such continually adjust their rates of activity and metabolism in response to ambient temperature and other seasonal variation. In particular, during the autumn mating season, male bats must carefully balance time spent foraging (to gain enough fat to last the winter hibernation) with time spent finding a mate. Because both activities require significant effort, how do male bats do it?

Related Articles


In an upcoming issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, Nina Becker and colleagues reveal that the answer lies in the bats' resting metabolic rate.

In their study, the group monitored the thermoregulation, energy intake, activity, and metabolism of free-ranging Daubenton's bats Myotis daubentonii during this insectivorous species' main activity period of the year (mid-April to mid-October).

Becker et al. found that during spring, when ambient temperatures are low, prey is scarce, and the male bats are reproductively inactive, M. daubentonii used daily torpor (decreased body temperature) to balance their energy budgets.

In summer, when temperatures and abundance of insects increase, bats shift their behavior away from long and frequent bouts of torpor and toward more intake of food. In males it is predicted that this increase in feeding is done in anticipation of the impending mating season, when energy requirements are high but low insect abundance and significant time spent finding a mate (and therefore not foraging) mean that food intake will be at its lowest during the animals' entire period of activity.

In autumn, for male M. daubentonii to accommodate the high energy demands of reproduction and low energy intake and also sufficiently prepare for hibernation, Becker and colleagues report that the bats do not increase torpor, as they do in spring, but instead employ metabolic compensation to reduce resting metabolic rate. In this way, energy expenditures are reduced and thus the low amount of food the bats consume is enough for them to survive the winter. The exact mechanism allowing this reduction in resting metabolic rate is still in question, but the authors speculate it is likely due to a decrease in activity of either the digestive system or the brain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Shifts in physiological mechanisms let male bats balance the need to feed and the urge to breed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415172427.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2013, April 15). Shifts in physiological mechanisms let male bats balance the need to feed and the urge to breed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415172427.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Shifts in physiological mechanisms let male bats balance the need to feed and the urge to breed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415172427.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

Buzz60 (Jan. 23, 2015) Some &apos;healthy&apos; foods are actually fattening. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) shines a light on the sneaky foods like nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix, avocados, guacamole, olive oil, peanut butter, fruit juices and salads that are good for you...but not so much for your waistline. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins