The energetic cost of mounting an immune response for Pallas's long-tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina)
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The acute phase response (APR) is the first line of defense of the vertebrate immune system against pathogens. Mounting an immune response is believed to be energetically costly but direct measures of metabolic rate during immune challenges contradict this assumption. The energetic cost of APR for birds is higher than for rodents, suggesting that this response is less expensive for mammals. However, the particularly large increase in metabolic rate after APR activation for a piscivorous bat (Myotis vivesi) suggests that immune response might be unusually costly for bats. Here we quantified the energetic cost and body mass change associated with APR for the nectarivorous Pallas's long-tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina). Activation of the APR resulted in a short-term decrease in body mass and an increase in resting metabolic rate (RMR) with a total energy cost of only 2% of the total energy expenditure estimated for G. soricina. This increase in RMR was far from the large increase measured for piscivorous bats; rather, it was similar to the highest values reported for birds. Overall, our results suggest that the costs of APR for bats may vary interspecifically. Measurement of the energy cost of vertebrate immune response is limited to a few species and further work is warranted to evaluate its significance for an animal's energy budget.