We examine the impact of behavior on the short-term energy expenditures of the only terrestrial mammals endemic to New Zealand, two bats, the long-tailed (Chalinolobus tuberculatus, family Vespertilionidae), and the lesser short-tailed (Mystacina tuberculata, family Mystacinidae). Vespertilionidae has a world-wide distribution. Mystacinidae is restricted to New Zealand, although related to five neotropical families and one in Madagascar reflecting a shared Gondwanan origin of their Noctilionoidea superfamily. Both species have highly variable body temperatures and rates of metabolism. They feed on flying insects, which requires them to be torpid in shelters during cold, wet periods. In dry weather Mystacina is active in winter at ambient temperatures as low as −1.0 °C, foraging for terrestrial invertebrates in leaf litter, even in the presence of snow, and consuming fruit, nectar, and pollen from endemic plants that bloom in winter. The behavior of Mystacina expands its presence in a cool, wet, temperate forest in a manner unlike any other bat, another example of the distinctive characteristics of the endemic New Zealand fauna. The use of torpor generally depends on a series of factors, including body mass, ambient temperature, latitude, reproductive cycle, sociality, and fat deposits. These factors result in a diversity of responses that range along a continuum from short-term torpor to hibernation.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2018
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