Time-expanded echolocation calls were recorded from 29 species of Neotropical bats in lowland moist tropical forest in Trinidad, West Indies with three aims: (1) to describe the echolocation calls of the members of a diverse Neotropical bat community, especially members of the family Phyllostomidae, whose calls are not well documented (2) to investigate whether multivariate analysis of calls allows species and foraging guilds to be identified and (3) to evaluate the use of bat detectors in surveying the phyllostomids of Neotropical forests. The calls of 12 species of the family Phyllostomidae are described here for the first time and a total of 29 species, belonging to five families (Emballonuridae, Mormoopidae, Phyllostomidae, Molossidae and Vespertilionidae) were recorded. Quadratic discriminant function analysis (DFA) was used to obtain classification rates for each one of 11 individual species and for six guilds (based on diet, foraging mode and habitat) comprising 26 species. Overall classification rates were low compared to similar studies conducted in the Palaeotropics. We suggest that this may be due to a combination of ecological plasticity for certain species and a loose relationship between echolocation call shape, fine-grained resource partitioning and resource acquisition in phyllostomids.
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