The thermal environment of day roosts is considered one of the most influential factors affecting the survival, growth and reproduction of microbats. The use of torpor is a common energy saving strategy employed by microbats in temperate regions. The efficiency of entry into, and arousal from, torpor is governed by roost microclimate, primarily roost temperature. The large-footed myotis Myotis macropus roosts in both tree cavities and a man-made tunnel at Yan Yean reservoir in Victoria, Australia. We investigated the thermal properties of both roost types in comparison to available tree cavities and ambient temperature over four time periods from October 2003 to May 2005. Tree cavities and tunnel roosts remained significantly warmer at night, cooler during the day, and were more stable than ambient temperatures. In addition, roost tree cavities were significantly cooler between 10:00–13:00 h compared to available tree cavities, and there was a trend for roost tree cavities to be slightly warmer at night and slower to reach maximum temperature relative to available tree cavities during the breeding season (October–January). In contrast, there was little difference in roost and available tree cavity temperatures outside of the breeding season (April–May). Temperatures inside tunnel roosts were more stable and were significantly cooler during the afternoon compared to roost tree cavities during both the breeding and non-breeding seasons. Myotis macropus may actively trade-off the enhanced thermoregulatory benefits of warm roosts for reduced predation risk associated with the tunnel roosting environment.
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