Energy metabolism and evaporative water loss in the European free-tailed bat and Hemprich's long-eared bat (Microchiroptera): species sympatric in the Negev Desert

S Marom, C Korine, Michał Wojciechowski, Christopher Tracy, Berry Pinshow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We compared the thermoregulatory abilities of two insectivorous bat species, Tadarida teniotis (mean body mass 32 g) and Otonycteris hemprichii (mean body mass 25 g), that are of different phylogenetic origins and zoogeographic distributions but are sympatric in the Negev Desert. At night, both were normothermic. By day, both were torpid when exposed to ambient temperatures (T a) below 25�C, with concomitant adjustments in metabolic rate (MR). Otonycteris hemprichii entered torpor at higher T a than T. teniotis, and, when torpid, their body temperatures (T b) were 1�-2�C and 5�-8�C above T a, respectively; MR was correspondingly reduced. At night, the lower critical temperature of T. teniotis was 31.5�C, and that of O. hemprichii was 33�C. Mean nocturnal thermoneutral MR of T. teniotis was 37% greater than that of O. hemprichii. At high T a, evaporative water loss (EWL) increased markedly in both species, but it was significantly higher in T. teniotis above 38�C. In both species, the dry heat transfer coefficient (thermal conductance) followed the expected pattern for small mammals, by day and by night. Total EWL was notably low in normothermic and torpid animals of both species, much lower than values reported for other bats, indicating efficient water conservation mechanisms in the study species. Comparing thermoregulatory abilities suggests that O. hemprichii is better adapted to hot, arid environments than T. teniotis, which may explain its wider desert distribution. By both standard and phylogenetically informed ANCOVA, we found no differences in basal metabolic rate (BMR) between desert and nondesert species of insectivorous bats, substantiating previous studies suggesting that low BMR is a characteristic common to insectivorous bats in general. � 2006 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)944-956
    Number of pages13
    JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
    Volume79
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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