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Food resource partitioning in syntopic nectarivorous bats on Puerto Rico

  • J. Angel Soto-Centeno (a1) (a2), Donald L. Phillips (a3), Allen Kurta (a2) and Keith A. Hobson (a4)


Understanding the dietary needs of syntopic species is essential for examining species coexistence and resource partitioning. We analysed stable isotopes of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) to estimate the diet of two putative nectarivorous bats on Puerto Rico, the brown flower bat (Erophylla bombifrons) and the Greater Antillean long-tongued bat (Monophyllus redmani). Isotopic ratios of δ13C and δ15N were obtained from whole blood of both species of bat and tissues of available plant foods and insect prey over 15 wk at the same locality. We used a concentration-dependent Bayesian mixing model to determine probability distributions of feasible dietary contributions for major potential foods used by each species of bat. Additionally, separate dietary estimates were conducted for males and non-reproductive, pregnant and lactating females to determine differences due to reproductive condition. Insects were an important source of protein for M. redmani, whereas E. bombifrons obtained most of its protein from plants. In both species of bat, lactating females had lower assimilated nitrogen than males, suggesting more reliance on plants for protein. We observed no intraspecific differences in assimilated carbon among reproductive conditions. Flight and lactation are energetically expensive and may explain the increased consumption of high-energy foods, such as fruit or nectar, in lactating female bats. Comparison of isotopes between E. bombifrons and M. redmani illustrate the differential use of food resources by these insular syntopic species of bat.


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