Difference in glucose tolerance between phytophagous and insectivorous bats

  • Xingwen Peng
  • Xiangyang He
  • Yunxiao Sun
  • Jie Liang
  • Huanwang Xie
  • Junhua Wang
  • Libiao ZhangEmail author
Original Paper


Bats are mostly insectivorous or phytophagous. It is hypothesized that bats are evolved from small insectivorous mammals. Therefore, the digestive and metabolic systems of phytophagous and insectivorous bats must have evolved differently to adapt to their dietary habits. To investigate the difference in sugar tolerance in bats, we determined changes in blood glucose levels after intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of glucose in three species of phytophagous and four species of insectivorous bats under resting conditions. Results showed that phytophagous bats eliminated blood glucose faster than insectivorous bats. All three species of fruit bats reduced blood glucose to fasting levels within 30–45 min, whereas all insectivorous bats failed to lower blood glucose to fasting levels even 120 min after i.p. glucose injection. Taken together, results of this study suggest that bats have undergone adaptations and become diversified in dietary habits.


Glucose clearance Phytophagous bats Insectivorous bats 



We thank Hui Liu, Qin Zhang, Qiqi Shen, and Jiao Zhao for their help with animal experiments, Quangsheng Liu for valuable advices. We also thank Prof. Yi-Hsuan Pan for providing experimental material. This work was supported by grants from the GDAS Special Project of Science and Technology Development (2017GDASCX-0107 and 2018GDASCX-0107), the Science & Technology Planning Project of Guangzhou (201707010128), and the Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Program (2018B030324001).

Author contributions

XP, XH, and LZ designed the study. XP performed the experiments. XP, XH, YS, JL, HX, and JW collected bats. XP, LZ, XH, YS, JL, HX, and JW analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xingwen Peng
    • 1
  • Xiangyang He
    • 1
  • Yunxiao Sun
    • 1
  • Jie Liang
    • 1
  • Huanwang Xie
    • 1
  • Junhua Wang
    • 1
  • Libiao Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Guangdong Key Laboratory of Animal Conservation and Resource Utilization, Guangdong Public Laboratory of Wild Animal Conservation and UtilizationGuangdong Institute of Applied Biological ResourcesGuangzhouChina

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