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1 December 2015 Seed Dispersal by Frugivorous Bats in Central Guyana and a Description of Previously Unknown Plant-Animal Interactions
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Abstract
Species of bats in the subfamilies Stenodermatinae and Carolliinae are primarily frugivores, and through the ingestion of fruit and defecation of seeds, they play a crucial role in their environment through the dispersal of early successional and pioneer plants contributing to reforestation. These ecosystem services provided by frugivorous bats are becoming more critical with time, as anthropogenic habitat destruction continues to rise. The objective of this study was to survey the plant species dispersed by frugivorous bats in a tropical rainforest in Guyana. Fecal samples were taken from captured frugivorous bats and stomach contents were taken from a representative collection. The four most common bats were Artibeus planirostris, A. obscurus, A. lituratus, and Carollia perspicillata, which accounted for 67% of total captures in mist nets set in the forest understory. Twenty plant species were identified in fecal and stomach content samples with the most abundant (Ficus nymphaeifolia, Piper bartlingianum, Cecropia latiloba, and C. sciadophylla) accounting for 60% of the total. Cecropia latiloba, which is an early colonizer of floodplains throughout the Guiana Shield and Amazon River Basin was previously unknown to be bat dispersed. Seven plant species were documented as being dispersed by nine bat species for the first time. These results enhance our understanding of seed dispersal by Neotropical bats, specifically by revealing previously unknown bat/plant relationships.
© Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS
Thomas W. B. Horsley, Jake E. Bicknell, Burton K. Lim and Loren K. Ammerman "Seed Dispersal by Frugivorous Bats in Central Guyana and a Description of Previously Unknown Plant-Animal Interactions," Acta Chiropterologica 17(2), (1 December 2015). https://doi.org/10.3161/15081109ACC2015.17.2.008
Received: 26 June 2014; Accepted: 1 September 2015; Published: 1 December 2015
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