Non-nutritional maternal support in the brown long-eared bat

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Adult female brown long-eared bats, Plecotus auritus, were taken into captivity over a 3-year period and housed in two free-flight enclosures. They were maintained in small groups, each roosting in a single, heated roost box while monitored by an infra-red sensitive video camera. The predicted percentage of records spent by lactating females in direct contact with the young on day 1 of lactation did not differ significantly from 100%. This declined to 13% on day 50 of lactation. Over time, the mothers groomed the young less. Lactating females visited the roost more times per night, but spent less time self grooming than non-reproductive females. The total amount of grooming behaviour (estimated as the percentage of records spent in self grooming plus those allocated to grooming of the young) for lactating females was 50% of the value for non-reproductive females. In general, care-giving behaviours declined with the progress of lactation. The temporal expression of these behaviours was opposite in direction to that of the expected energetic demands of milk production. (C) 1997 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1193-1204
Number of pages12
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997


  • free-tailed bat
  • leaf-nosed bat
  • plecotus-auritus
  • pipistrellus-pipistrellus
  • carollia-perspicillata
  • tadarida-brasiliensis
  • antrozous-pallidus
  • myotis-lucifugus
  • feeding ecology
  • social-behavior


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