Organisms adjust their foraging strategies to optimize the energetic costs during foraging with respect to benefits gained. These strategies are usually different in males and females due to their specific requirements during reproduction. Knowing the temporal dietary composition and variation may help us understand how intrinsic factors can influence diet during the breeding season. Seba’s short–tailed fruit bat (Carollia perspicillata) plays an important role in seed dispersal throughout the Neotropics. Seasonal dietary changes related to resource availability have been documented but dietary differences between males and females have not been analyzed. We tested the hypothesis that dietary breadth increases and varies between males and females of Carollia perspicillata during the breeding season. We collected 295 fecal samples (from 236 males and 182 females) between June 2012 and April 2013 at the Macaregua cave (Santander, Colombia). Sex, diet and overlap were recorded. Time series analysis of dietary variation were estimated and related to food (fruits and flowers) availability. Males were found to include 18 seed morphospecies within their diet, while females included 16 seed morphospecies. Ficus, Vismia and Acacia were the most commonly consumed plant genera within the diet of both males and females. The time series analysis throughout the year indicated that males had greater dietary diversity than females. Dietary richness for males peaked multiple times, while dietary richness for females peaked only once during the transition period between pregnancy and lactation. We recorded significant sex differences in the value of importance of plants in the diet, evenness, and dominance of plant species consumed, as well as differential consumption over the seasons. Knowing the variations in the diet allows us to address the differences between the foraging strategies that females and males use in response to energy demands, movement patterns and habitat use. This is essential to understand all those processes that organisms must carry out for their survival and maintenance.
Bats, Conservation, Feeding ecology, Foraging, Nutrition
Reception date: 11 VII 18 | Acceptation date: 05 IX 19 | Publication date: 03/01/20
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