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28 July 2016 Effect of roost choice on winter torpor patterns of a free-ranging insectivorous bat
Stawski Clare, Shannon E. Currie
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Gould’s wattled bat (Chalinolobus gouldii) is one of only three native Australian mammals with an Australia-wide distribution. However, currently no data are available on the thermal physiology of free-ranging C. gouldii. Therefore, we aimed to quantify the effect of roost choice on daily skin temperature fluctuations during winter in C. gouldii living in an agricultural landscape in a temperate region. Ambient conditions consisted of long periods below 0°C and snow. Some individuals roosted high in dead branches whereas one individual roosted in a large cavity located low in a live tree. Torpor was employed on every day of the study period by all bats, with bouts lasting for over five days. The skin temperature of individuals in the dead branches tracked ambient temperature, with skin temperatures below 3°C on 67% of bat-days (lowest recorded –0.2°C). In contrast, the individual in the tree cavity maintained a larger skin-ambient temperature differential, likely influenced by the internal cavity temperature. Our study presents the lowest skin temperature recorded for a free-ranging Australian microbat and reveals that roost choice affects the thermal physiology of C. gouldii, ensuring survival during periods of cold weather and limited food supply.

© CSIRO 2016
Stawski Clare and Shannon E. Currie "Effect of roost choice on winter torpor patterns of a free-ranging insectivorous bat," Australian Journal of Zoology 64(2), 132-137, (28 July 2016).
Received: 21 April 2016; Accepted: 1 July 2016; Published: 28 July 2016
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