Rates of Seasonal Fuel Loading Do Not Differ by Sex or Overwintering Strategy in Three Species of Bats

Theodore Weller, Jeff Clerc, Matthew Lau, Nels Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For temperate-zone mammals, seasonal changes in weather and food availability often govern energy allocation. In addition, energy allocation strategies usually differ between males and females. Bats are an interesting group in which to evaluate energetic trade-offs as they are highly mobile and lead energetically demanding lives in habitats across a variety of seasonally variable climates. We evaluated year-round changes in body mass and fuel load for three species of bats in northern California: Silver-haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans), California Myotis (Myotis californicus), and Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis). Silver-haired bats are considered migratory species with females likely migrating farther than males. The two species of myotis are considered residents. Body mass of all species peaked in late autumn and was at a minimum during spring. We calculated a fuel load index to normalize size difference between species and sexes. We used sex- and season-specific multiple linear regression models to evaluate rates of change in seasonal fuel loading. Rates of change in fuel load did not differ among species or sexes except for male silver-haired bats that increased fuel loads rapidly during summer. Interspecific comparisons provided valuable insights into the energy allocation and overwintering strategies of these species and are an important initial step toward understanding their ecology over the full annual cycle.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1246-1256
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-84656


  • body condition
  • energy allocation
  • fuel load
  • full annual cycle
  • Lasionycteris noctivagans
  • Myotis californicus
  • Myotis yumanensis


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