Find Paper, Faster
Example:10.1021/acsami.1c06204 or Chem. Rev., 2007, 107, 2411-2502
Feasting, not fasting: winter diets of cave hibernating bats in the United States
Frontiers in Zoology  (IF3.172),  Pub Date : 2021-09-23, DOI: 10.1186/s12983-021-00434-9
Bernard, Riley F., Willcox, Emma V., Jackson, Reilly T., Brown, Veronica A., McCracken, Gary F.

Temperate bat species use extended torpor to conserve energy when ambient temperatures are low and food resources are scarce. Previous research suggests that migratory bat species and species known to roost in thermally unstable locations, such as those that roost in trees, are more likely to remain active during winter. However, hibernating colonies of cave roosting bats in the southeastern United States may also be active and emerge from caves throughout the hibernation period. We report what bats are eating during these bouts of winter activity. We captured 2,044 bats of 10 species that emerged from six hibernacula over the course of 5 winters (October–April 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2015/2016, 2016/2017, and 2017/2018). Using Next Generation sequencing of DNA from 284 fecal samples, we determined bats consumed at least 14 Orders of insect prey while active. Dietary composition did not vary among bat species; however, we did record variation in the dominant prey items represented in species’ diets. We recorded Lepidoptera in the diet of 72.2% of individual Corynorhinus rafinesquii and 67.4% of individual Lasiurus borealis. Diptera were recorded in 32.4% of Myotis leibii, 37.4% of M. lucifugus, 35.5% of M. sodalis and 68.8% of Perimyotis subflavus. Our study is the first to use molecular genetic techniques to identify the winter diet of North American hibernating bats. The information from this study is integral to managing the landscape around bat hibernacula for insect prey, particularly in areas where hibernating bat populations are threatened by white-nose syndrome.