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Ecología en Bolivia

Print version ISSN 1605-2528On-line version ISSN 2075-5023


LOAYZA, Andrea P.; RIOS, Rodrigo S.  and  LARREA ALCAZAR, Daniel M.. Resource availavility and diet of frugivorous bats at Tunquini Biological Station, Bolivia. Ecología en Bolivia [online]. 2006, vol.41, n.1, pp.7-23. ISSN 1605-2528.

A range of factors can influence the diet and foraging behavior of frugivorous bats among which the most important is food resource availability. In this study we examined the composition of frugivorous bats at the Tunquini Biological Station (TBE) - Cotapata, and tested the hypothesis that the diet of frugivorous bats varies in relation to resource availability in a one year period. Diet was quantified by analyzing seeds found in fecal samples and fruit availability evaluated in eight plots during nine sampling periods. We captured 23 species of bats, 12 of which were predominantly frugivorous and represented 90% of the total captures. The diet consisted mainly of six plant species among which Vismia sp., Solanum riparium and Piper elongatum were dominant. We observed high resource use overlap amongst the most common frugivorous bat species captured. Bat diet varied in relation to plant phenology in three of the six plant species considered: S. riparium, Vismia sp. and Piper psilophyllum. The fact that the bat community is strongly dominated by understory frugivores and that their diet consisted mainly of six plant species is likely a consequence of the low diversity of food resources available for frugivores bats in the proximities of the TBE. This habitat is influenced by human activities and has an important component of plant species of secondary succession, which provide resources mostly for understory frugivores.

Keywords : Bat diet; resource availability; frugivorous bats; trophic niche overlap; Chiroptera.

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