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2007 | 09 | 1 |
Tytuł artykułu

The influence of a local temperature inversion on the foraging behaviour of big brown bats, Eptesicus fuscus

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Języki publikacji
To maximise foraging efficiency, it is reasonable to expect animals to forage in the highest quality patches. Insectivorous bats should therefore travel to and forage at sites with the highest insect abundance. Since insects are ectothermic, their levels of activity should be higher in warmer areas, making these high quality patches for bats. A nightly temperature inversion occurring in the Cypress Hills (Saskatchewan, Canada) presented an opportunity to test our hypothesis that big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) select foraging sites based on temperature as a proxy for insect abundance. If temperature is an important determinant of the foraging behaviour of E. fuscus, we expect bats to forage in the warmest site closest to local night roosts. We tracked 18 bats for a total of 111 nights over two years and found that individuals often spent at least some of each foraging bout in an area where the temperature inversion was small or non-existent. Bats sometimes travelled up to 11 km to reach this site. Foraging in areas where the temperature inversion was small provides indirect evidence that local temperature fluctuations are not a major influence on the selection of foraging area by E. fuscus. Also, since there was little difference in the temperature between the nearby predicted foraging sites and actual foraging sites, we argue that the effect of temperature on insect activity cannot be used to predict foraging habitat selection by these bats. We found that the insect community of the foraging area was different than that of the roosting area, and that beetles were more abundant in the foraging site. Our data suggests that insect community composition is potentially a stronger direct influence on bat foraging behaviour than is temperature.
Opis fizyczny
  • Department of Biology, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
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