Endotherms experience temperature variation among body regions, or regional heterothermy, despite maintaining high core body temperatures. Bat forelimbs are elongated to function as wings, which makes them vulnerable to heat loss and exaggerates regional heterothermy. A tropical bat species, Carollia perspicillata, flies with distal wing muscles that are substantially (>10°C) cooler than proximal wing muscles and significantly less temperature sensitive. We hypothesized that the difference between proximal and distal wing muscles would be even more extreme in a temperate bat species that is capable of flight at variable environmental temperatures. We measured the contractile properties of the proximal pectoralis muscle and distal extensor carpi radialis muscle at a range of temperatures in the big brown bat, Eptesicus fuscus, and compared their thermal dependence with that of the same muscles in C. perspicillata. We found that, overall, temperature sensitivities between species were remarkably similar. The sole exception was the shortening velocity of the pectoralis muscle in E. fuscus, which was less temperature sensitive than in C. perspicillata. This decreased temperature sensitivity in a proximal muscle runs counter to our prediction. We suggest that the relative lability of body temperature in E. fuscus may make better pectoralis function at low temperatures advantageous.

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