Post‐prandial urine loss and its relation to ecology in brown long‐eared (Plecotus auritus) and Daubenton's (Myotis daubentoni) bats (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae)

P. I. Webb*, J. R. Speakman, P. A. Racey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Urine loss, over the first 12 hours after feeding, was positively and linearly dependent on food consumption in water‐denied, brown long‐eared bats (Plecotus auritus) and also in water‐denied and water‐provided, Daubenton's bats (Myotis daubentoni). The slope of the relationship (food‐dependent urine loss) (363 μ 1 g dry mass food−1, S.D.=±70, n=19) was not significantly different between the two species but predicted urine loss at zero food consumption (food‐independent urine loss) was significantly lower in P. auritus (0.048 μl.min−1, S.D. =±0.015, n= 12) than in M. duubentoni (0.217 μl min−1 S.D. =±0.040, n = 7). The same results were apparent if the data for M. daubentoni were restricted to water‐deprived animals only. Of total urine loss, 46% occurred in the first hour after feeding in M. daubentoni compared with only 20% in P. auritus. We suggest that the differences between the two species in the pattern of postprandial urine loss reflect their relative association with open water when foraging and roosting in the wild. In the course of the water‐denied experiment, M. duubentoni lost 15% of pre‐fed body mass and showed signs of severe dehydration, while P. auritus only lost 6% and did not. However, urine loss only accounted for 8–10% of body mass loss. A water budget model for wild P. auritus in the summer was developed and suggested that if bats did not drink, approximately 19% of water loss would be attributable to faecal water loss, 18–20% to urine loss, and 59–62% of intake would be available to support evaporation and reproductive losses. 1994 The Zoological Society of London

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Zoology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 1994


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