Preferential consumption of larger fruits of Piper arboreum (Piperaceae) by Carollia perspicillata (Phyllostomidae) in the brazilian tropical dry forest
Keywords:bats, fruits, cerrado, urban
Frugivorous animals may use morphological traits of food items such as size, hardness, shape, color and smell as cues that allow them to assess cost-benefit relationship of foraging activity. Fruit size is an important trait that influences feeding behavior of most frugivores, since there is a functional correlation between fruit size and frugivores' body size. Therefore, size-based preference is fundamental to understand plant-frugivore interactions and seed dispersal. In this sense, we tested the hypothesis of preferential consumption of larger fruits of Piper arboreum by the short-tailed fruit bat Carollia perspicillata in the Brazilian tropical dry forest. Results showed considerable variation in fruit size among and within plants. There was also significant difference in fruit ripening time among plants, which was not related to fruit size. Average size of remaining fruits reduced as they were removed from plants by the bats, which indicates preferential consumption of larger fruits. On the other hand, plant phenology constrained consumption of bigger fruits. Only a small fraction of plant crop was available for consumption each night, regardless of fruit size, which probably coerced bats to feed on smaller fruits as the availability of larger ones decreased. Results suggest that bat preference on fruit size is mediated by plant phenological strategies.
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Copyright (c) 2015 Luís Paulo Pires, Kleber Del Claro, Wilson Uieda
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.