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Journal of Experimental Biology partnership with Dryad

Are torpid bats immune to anthropogenic noise?
Jinhong Luo, B.-Markus Clarin, Ivailo M. Borissov, Björn M. Siemers


Anthropogenic noise has a negative impact on a variety of animals. However, many bat species roost in places with high levels of anthropogenic noise. Here we test the hypothesis that torpid bats are insensitive to anthropogenic noise. In a laboratory experiment, we recorded skin temperature (Tsk) of bats roosting individually that were subjected to playbacks of different types of noise. We found that torpid bats with Tsk ~10°C lower than their active Tsk, responded to all types of noise by elevating Tsk. Bats responded most strongly to colony and vegetation noise, and most weakly to traffic noise. The time of day when torpid bats were exposed to noise had a pronounced effect on responses. Torpid bats showed increasing responses from morning towards evening, i.e. towards the onset of the active phase. Skin temperature at the onset of noise exposure (Tsk-start, 17 ~ 29°C) was not related to the response. Moreover, we found evidence that torpid bats rapidly habituated to repeated and prolonged noise exposure.