Body temperatures of hibernating little brown bats reveal pronounced behavioural activity during deep torpor and suggest a fever response during white-nose syndrome

Heather W Mayberry, Liam McGuire, Craig KR Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Hibernating animals use torpor [reduced body temperature (T b) and metabolic rate] to reduce energy expenditure during winter. Periodic arousals to normal T b are energetically expensive, so hibernators trade off arousal benefits against energetic costs. This is especially important for bats with white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease causing increased arousal frequency. Little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) with WNS show upregulation of endogenous pyrogens and sickness behaviour. Therefore, we hypothesized that WNS should cause a fever response characterized by elevated T b. Hibernators could also accrue some benefits of arousals with minimal T b increase, thus avoiding full arousal costs. We compared skin temperature (T sk) of captive Myotis lucifugus inoculated with the WNS-causing fungus to T sk of sham-inoculated controls. Infected bats re-warmed to higher T sk during arousals which is consistent with a fever response. Torpid T sk did not differ. During what we term “cold aro
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333 - 343
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

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