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Differences in foraging times between two feeding guilds within Old World fruit bats (Pteropodidae) in southern Thailand

  • Alyssa B. Stewart (a1), Robert Makowsky (a2) and Michele R. Dudash (a1)


Bats are important but understudied pollinators in the Palaeotropics, and much about their interactions with night-blooming, bat-pollinated plant species is still unknown. We compared visitation times to flowering and fruiting plant resources by nectarivorous bat species (obligate pollinators) and frugi-nectarivorous bat species (facultative pollinators) throughout the night to examine the temporal variability that occurs within Pteropodidae foraging. Timing of pollination is an important determinant of plant reproductive success and more temporally restrictive than fruit dispersal. We netted 179 nectarivorous bats and 209 frugi-nectarivorous bats across 367 total mist-net h at five plant species providing floral resources and six plant species providing fruit resources. We found that all three nectarivorous bat species in southern Thailand forage significantly earlier in the evening (20h30 versus 22h00), and over a significantly shorter time interval (1.73 h versus 3.33 h), than do the five most commonly netted frugi-nectarivorous species. These results indicate that the two feeding guilds may be imposing different selective pressures on bat-pollinated plant species and may comprise different functional groups. We propose that the observed differences in bat foraging times are due to temporal constraints imposed by the rewards of the plant species that they visit.


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