Fondren Science Series

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Thermoregulation in Bats


Much controversy surrounds the ability of bats to thermoregulate, especially within the hibernating state. The general conception is that all bats become poikilothermic daily and also over-winter in deep hibernation. In fact, as much diversity exists in thermoregulatory patterns in the Order Chiroptera as exists in all of the rest of the mammals. Some species maintain their body temperature with a precision of + or - 1 ° C, whether active or asleep; while other species can remain in deep torpidity with the body temperature near 0°C for several months without arousal. The intent of the present paper is to draw together much of the relevant literature, mostly for the years 1964 through 1968; only particularly pertinent references before 1964 are cited. For the student of chiropterology the list here should be considered only a guide to relevant literature. As one approaches the literature, one finds a real paucity of integrative experimentation, but an abundance of integrative speculation. The present paper attempts both. The reader is encouraged to examine the original references which contain much more information than could be reviewed in this paper. The organization of this discussion will be handled under the following general categories: (1) definitions of thermoregulatory terms, (2) thermoregulation in the Megachiroptera, (3) thermoregulation in the Microchiroptera, (4) rhythms in thermoregulation, (5) physiology of hibernation, (6) behavior and ecology, (7) evolution of thermoregulation.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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