Seasonal and reproductive effects on wound healing in the flight membranes of captive big brown bats Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • ABSTRACT The flight membranes of bats serve a number of physiological functions important for survival. Although flight membrane injuries are commonly observed in wild-caught bats, in most cases the damage heals completely. Previous studies examining wound healing in the flight membranes of bats have not taken into consideration energy constraints that could influence healing times. Wound healing results in increased energy demands, therefore we hypothesized that wound healing times would be slower during periods of energy conservation and/or energy output. In this study we used an 8 mm diameter circular punch tool to biopsy the wing membranes of healthy adult female big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) from a captive research colony to test the hypothesis that healing times will vary with seasonal temperature changes between the summer and winter seasons, and with reproductive condition between lactating and non-reproductive females. As expected, membrane biopsies took significantly longer to heal during the winter when bats were hibernating compared to the summer when bats were active. Surprisingly, no difference in healing time was observed between lactating and non-reproductive females. The wings of most bats fully healed, although some individuals showed wound expansion demonstrating that impaired healing is occasionally observed in otherwise healthy subjects.

authors

  • Ceballos-Vasquez, Alejandra
  • Caldwell, John R
  • Faure, Paul

publication date

  • January 15, 2015