Physiological and behavioral adaptations in bats living at high latitudes

Justin G Boyles, Liam McGuire, Esmarie Boyles, Jesika P Reimer, Christopher AC Brooks, Robert W Rutherford, Teresa A Rutherford, John O Whitaker Jr, Gary F McCracken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Widespread animals at the extremes of the species’ distribution experience ecological constraints different than individuals in the core of the distribution. For example, small endotherms at very high latitudes face short summers with cool temperatures and a lack of true darkness. In particular, insectivorous bats at high latitudes may experience constraints because of their unique life history traits, and may have different energy requirements than bats at lower latitudes. To evaluate the extent of these differences, we estimated an energy budget and refueling rates for reproductively active female little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) roosting in buildings in eastern Alaska (~63°N). Physiological parameters (torpor use and metabolic rates) and daily energy expenditures (26.4 ±5.3 kJ d-1) were similar to conspecifics at lower latitudes. Northern little brown bats foraged for less time than southerly conspecifics, but measurements of plasma β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations suggest that
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-327
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 16 2016


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