Torpor, arousal and activity of hibernating greater horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum)


Park K, Jones G & Ransome RD (2000) Torpor, arousal and activity of hibernating greater horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum). Functional Ecology, 14 (5), pp. 580-588.

1. Patterns of torpor, arousal, and activity in free-living greater horseshoe bats, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, were investigated during the hibernation period by using temperature-sensitive radio-transmitters. 2. Torpor bouts varied between 0.1 - 11.8 days, with individual means ranging from 1.3 - 7.4 days. Torpor bout duration decreased with increasing ambient temperature. 3. Activity duration varied from 37 minutes – 54 hours 24 minutes, with individual means ranging from 2:29 to 8:58 hours. Activity duration increased with ambient temperatures above approximately 10oC. 4. Ten of 11 bats synchronised their arousals with dusk. The circadian rhythm of one bat showed a free-running pattern over a period of about five weeks. Arousals were more highly synchronised, and closer to dusk, in individuals with lower body condition. 5. That bats forage in mild weather is supported by the strong synchronisation of arousals with dusk, especially in bats with low body condition. 6. Patterns of torpor and subsequent activity are consistent with predictions that torpor lasts until a critical metabolic or water imbalance is achieved. Because metabolism and water loss are temperature-dependent, torpor bout duration decreases with increasing temperature. The imbalance is corrected during subsequent activity, which is relatively constant in duration until a temperature threshold of 10oC, above which increasing levels of foraging lead to longer activity bouts.

Carcadian rhythms; Radio-telemetry; Foraging; Hibernation; Horseshoe bats Behavior; Hibernation bats; Animal societies; Arousal (Physiology) Bats

Functional Ecology: Volume 14, Issue 5

Publication date31/10/2000
Publication date online14/11/2003
PublisherBlackwell Publishing