Species coexistence depends mainly on the spatiotemporal distribution of resources, and, in extreme cases, results in direct competition (interference). In the present study, we report for the first time an agonistic interaction between marsupials and bats, and food defense behaviour in the black-eared opossum Didelphis aurita. We describe the agonistic interaction between the opossum and a bat of the species Artibeus lituratus while they foraged on the same infructescences of Cecropia glaziovii and C. hololeuca in an Atlantic Forest area. While competing for food, the bats foraged in group (of approximately six individuals) and apparently showed a synchronized and coordinated behaviour to pick the infructescences. Then, a male D. aurita showed an aggressive behaviour toward the bats, moving on branches and leaf petioles and vocalizing to the bats, apparently trying to scare them away. We conclude that D. aurita defends food in a way consistent with the concept of economic defendability. We know little about how Neotropical mammals share resources in time and space, so future studies on the foraging behaviour of the black-eared opossum should focus on agonistic interaction with competitive species.
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Vol. 65 • No. 3