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Data from: Combinations of reproductive, individual, and weather effects best explain torpor patterns among female little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus)

Citation

Besler, Nicole K.; Broders, Hugh G. (2019), Data from: Combinations of reproductive, individual, and weather effects best explain torpor patterns among female little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c04tj85

Abstract

Heterothermic mammals can use torpor, a state of metabolic suppression, to conserve energy during times of limited food and poor environmental conditions. Females may use torpor throughout gestation and lactation; however, there are associated physiological and ecological costs with potential fitness consequences. Previous studies have controlled for, but not quantified the impact of interindividual variation on torpor patterns and understanding this may provide insight on why certain thermoregulatory responses are employed. The objective of this study was to identify and quantitatively characterize the intrinsic variables and weather conditions that best explain variation in torpor patterns among individual female little brown bats, Myotis lucifugus. We used temperature‐sensitive radio‐transmitters affixed to females to measure skin temperature patterns of 35 individuals roosting in bat boxes in the spring and summer. We used Bayesian multi‐model inference to rank a priori‐selected models and variables based on their explanatory power. Reproductive condition and interindividual effects best explained torpor duration and depth, and weather best explained torpor frequency. Of the reproductive conditions, lactating females used torpor for the shortest durations and at shallower depths (i.e., smallest drop in minimum Tsk), while females in early spring (i.e., not‐obviously‐pregnant) used torpor for the longest and deepest. Among individuals, the greatest difference in effects on duration occurred between pregnant individuals, suggesting interindividual variation within reproductive condition. Increases in precipitation and wind were associated with a higher probability of torpor use. Our results provide further support that multiple variables explain torpor patterns and highlight the importance of including individual effects when studying thermoregulatory patterns in heterothermic species.

Usage Notes

Location

Newfoundland