The Neotropical fringe-lipped bat, Trachops cirrhosus, is a generalist predator that hunts frogs and insects by homing in on their mating calls. Although research has examined cognition and prey preferences of bats in captivity, little is known of the foraging or roosting behaviour of this species in the wild. We radio tracked six T. cirrhosus individuals on Barro Colorado Island, Panamá. Bat day roosts were all in hollow cashew trees, Anacardium excelsum, in mixed sex groups of three to five T. cirrhosus individuals, with frequent roost switching. Radio tracked individuals flew an average of 218 ± 227 m from their day roosts to 12.0 ± 10.17 ha foraging areas (50% utilization distribution [UD] kernels = areas where bats spent 50% of their time as estimated from a probability distribution). These 50% UD kernels were less than 10% of their average total range use, but larger than previously reported for T. cirrhosus. Radio tracked individuals overlapped in 50% UD kernel foraging areas by only 2.1 ± 5.9 % on average. Foraging behaviour consisted predominantly of short sally flights of less than one minute, indicating bats were likely perch hunting. Bats were more frequently in flight, and had longer flight durations, at the beginning of the night and just before dawn than throughout the rest of the night. These data provide insight into the foraging behaviour of T. cirrhosus in the wild, that is a species fast becoming a model system of cognition in captivity.
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Vol. 19 • No. 2