Data from: Heart rate reveals torpor at high body temperatures in lowland tropical free-tailed bats
O'Mara, M. Teague et al. (2017), Data from: Heart rate reveals torpor at high body temperatures in lowland tropical free-tailed bats, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6620j
Reduction in metabolic rate and body temperature is a common strategy for small endotherms to save energy. The daily reduction in metabolic rate and heterothermy, or torpor, is particularly pronounced in regions with a large variation in daily ambient temperature. This applies most strongly in temperate bat species (order Chiroptera), but it is less clear how tropical bats save energy if ambient temperatures remain high. However, many subtropical and tropical species use some daily heterothermy on cool days. We recorded the heart rate and the body temperature of free-ranging Pallas' mastiff bats (Molossus molossus) in Gamboa, Panamá, and showed that these individuals have low field metabolic rates across a wide range of body temperatures that conform to high ambient temperature. Importantly, low metabolic rates in controlled respirometry trials were best predicted by heart rate, and not body temperature. Molossus molossus enter torpor-like states characterized by low metabolic rate and heart rates at body temperatures of 32°C, and thermoconform across a range of temperatures. Flexible metabolic strategies may be far more common in tropical endotherms than currently known.