Bats on a budget: torpor-assisted migration saves time and energy

Liam McGuire, Kristin A Jonasson, Christopher G Guglielmo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bats and birds must balance time and energy budgets during migration. Migrating bats face similar physiological challenges to birds, but nocturnality creates special challenges for bats, such as a conflict between travelling and refueling, which many birds avoid by feeding in daylight and flying at night. As endothermic animals, bats and birds alike must expend substantial amounts of energy to maintain high body temperatures. For migratory birds refueling at stopovers, remaining euthermic during inactive periods reduces the net refuelling rate, thereby prolonging stopover duration and delaying subsequent movement. We hypothesized that bats could mitigate similar ambient-temperature dependent costs by using a torpor-assisted migration strategy. We studied silver-haired bats Lasionycteris noctivagans during autumn migration using a combination of respirometry and temperature-sensitive radiotelemetry to estimate energy costs incurred under ambient temperature conditions, and the energy t
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e115724
JournalPLoS ONE
StatePublished - Dec 31 2014


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