Male long-distance migrant turned sedentary; the West European pond bat (Myotis dasycneme) alters their migration and hibernation behaviour

Anne Jifke Haarsma*, Peter H.C. Lina, Aldo M. Voûte, Henk Siepel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During autumn in the temperate zone, insectivorous male bats face a profound energetic challenge, as in the same period they have to make energy choices related to hibernation, mating and migration. To investigate these energetic trade-offs, we compared the body mass of male and female pond bats (Myotis dasycneme) through the summer season, characterized the known hibernacula in terms of male or female bias, and subsequently compared their population trend during two study periods, between 1930-1980 and 1980-2015. Towards the end of summer, males began losing weight whilst females were simultaneously accumulating fat, suggesting that males were pre-occupied with mating. We also found evidence for a recent adaptation to this energetic trade-off, males have colonised winter roosts in formerly unoccupied areas, which has consequently led to a change in the migration patterns for the male population of this species. As male bats do not assist in raising offspring, males have ample time to restore their energy balance after hibernation. Our results suggest that choosing a hibernacula closer to the summer range not only decreases energy cost needed for migration, it also lengthens the mating season of the individual male. Our findings have important conservation implications, as male and female biased hibernation assemblages may differ critically in terms of microclimate preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0217810
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

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