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J Comp Physiol B. 2003 Feb;173(1):79-85. Epub 2003 Jan 25.

Reproductive energetics of the nectar-feeding bat Glossophaga soricina (Phyllostomidae).

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Zoologisches Institut II, der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Staudtstrasse 5, Germany.


Pregnancy and lactation are energetically demanding periods for female mammals. Unique amongst mammals, bats have to allocate considerable amounts of energy into their offspring because juveniles cannot be weaned until they are capable of flying at almost adult size. Similar to other bat species, female nectar-feeding bats should increase their energy intake after parturition to meet the energy demands of offspring growth. However, previous studies have shown that nectar-feeding bats differ from other similar-sized bats in having a much higher metabolic rate. Therefore, I examined how nectarivorous bats respond to the energetic challenge of reproduction. In this study, the daily energy intake of pregnant and lactating Glossophaga soricina was measured during a 6-week period prior to and a 10-week period after parturition. Body mass of G. soricina increased linearly until parturition. Within the same time period, daily flight time decreased and daily energy intake remained constant. Probably, the reduced flight activity of pregnant bats compensated for the increased power requirements of flight, thus resulting in an almost constant daily energy turnover. During 35 days after parturition, neither flight time, body mass nor daily energy intake of lactating females changed significantly. On average, the daily energy intake of pregnant, lactating or non-reproducing G. soricina was not significantly different. Possibly, for unknown reasons, female G. soricina maintain a daily energy intake of a constant high level during and beyond reproduction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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