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3 May 2017 Implications of a specialized diet for the foraging behavior of the Honduran white bat, Ectophylla alba (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)
David Villalobos-Chaves, Manuel Spínola-Parallada, Katrin Heer, Elisabeth K. V. Kalko†, Bernal Rodríguez-Herrera
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Abstract

Specialist species are defined by their restricted range of tolerated environmental conditions and required resources. For example, in the New World leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae), specialization in diet has been linked to morphological and behavioral innovations (i.e., skull form, foraging behaviors) that facilitate the occupation of new ecological niches by these animals. Here, we use the Honduran white bat, Ectophylla alba, as a model to test the behavioral responses of the species to a narrow diet: one based on figs of Ficus colubrinae (Moraceae). Through the use of radiotelemetry, we demonstrate that the foraging behavior of these bats is highly dependent on their main food resource. In response, behavioral adaptations have evolved to optimize the bats' foraging strategies and—at a broad level—the performance and survival of the species in their habitat. Conservation decisions should consider the tight linkage that exists among some species and their habitat characteristics or food resources (as demonstrated herein), in order to protect highly susceptible and unique species that could potentially go extinct with the disturbance or removal of specific features of their ecological interactions.

© 2017 American Society of Mammalogists, www.mammalogy.org
David Villalobos-Chaves, Manuel Spínola-Parallada, Katrin Heer, Elisabeth K. V. Kalko†, and Bernal Rodríguez-Herrera "Implications of a specialized diet for the foraging behavior of the Honduran white bat, Ectophylla alba (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)," Journal of Mammalogy 98(4), 1193-1201, (3 May 2017). https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyx044
Received: 19 January 2017; Accepted: 23 March 2017; Published: 3 May 2017
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KEYWORDS
ecological specialization
Heliconia spp.
radiotracking
Sarapiquí
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