Urine and plasma concentrations and haematocrits were measured in free-ranging Angolan free-tailed bats (Mops condylurus) inhabiting thermally-challenging roosts in the Komatipoort region of South Africa. Samples were collected in both autumn and summer, from bats caught emerging from roosts before feeding (pre-feeding), and those returning after foraging (post-prandial). Post-prandial bats exhibited higher body fluid concentrations, but lower haematocrits, than individuals caught prior to feeding, reflecting raised excretory mineral and nitrogenous loads and replenishment of body water pools during nocturnal foraging. Pre-feeding concentrations of both urine (2637 ± 506 mOsm/kg; n = 16) and plasma (331.5 ± 25.9mOsm/kg; n = 24) were significantly higher in summer than autumn (urine: 2157 ± 454mOsm/kg; n = 8; plasma: 294.5 ± 35.2 mOsm/kg; n = 18) reflecting the greater dehydration stresses within hotter roost microclimates, and a moderate kidney concentrating ability in this species. Haematocrits of pre-feeding animals were not, however, influenced by season and in both instances exceeded 53%, indicative of the higher oxygen carrying capacity needed for sustained flight in volant insectivores and also the defense of the rheological properties of blood. The ability of Mops condylurus to withstand a thermally-challenging roost milieu reflects, in part, its tolerance to dehydration, rather than the maintenance of water balance through exceptional renal concentrating ability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology