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Title: Black or white? Physiological implications of roost colour and choice in a microbat
Contributor(s): Doty, Anna C  (author); Stawski, Clare  (author); Currie, Shannon (author); Geiser, Fritz  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2016.07.015
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Abstract: Although roost choice in bats has been studied previously, little is known about how opposing roost colours affect the expression of torpor quantitatively. We quantified roost selection and thermoregulation in a captive Australian insectivorous bat, 'Nyctophilus gouldi' (n=12) in winter when roosting in black and white coloured boxes using temperature-telemetry. We quantified how roost choice influences torpor expression when food was provided ad libitum or restricted in bats housed together in an outdoor aviary exposed to natural fluctuations of ambient temperature. Black box temperatures averaged 5.1 °C (maximum 7.5 °C) warmer than white boxes at their maximum daytime temperature. Bats fed ad libitum chose black boxes on most nights (92.9%) and on 100% of nights when food-restricted. All bats used torpor on all study days. However, bats fed ad libitum and roosting in black boxes used shorter torpor and spent more time normothermic/active at night than food-restricted bats and bats roosting in white boxes. Bats roosting in black boxes also rewarmed passively more often and to a higher skin temperature than those in white boxes. Our study suggests that 'N. gouldi' fed ad libitum select warmer roosts in order to passively rewarm to a higher skin temperature and thus save energy required for active midday rewarming as well as to maintain a normothermic body temperature for longer periods at night. This study shows that colour should be considered when deploying bat boxes; black boxes are preferable for those bats that use passive rewarming, even in winter when food availability is reduced.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Grant Details: ARC/DP130101506
Source of Publication: Journal of Thermal Biology, v.60, p. 162-170
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0306-4565
Field of Research (FOR): 060806 Animal Physiological Ecology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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