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Dry-Season Overlap in Activity Patterns, Habitat Use, and Prey Selection by Sympatric African Insectivorous Bats

M. B. Fenton and D. W. Thomas
Biotropica
Vol. 12, No. 2 (Jun., 1980), pp. 81-90
DOI: 10.2307/2387723
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2387723
Page Count: 10
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Dry-Season Overlap in Activity Patterns, Habitat Use, and Prey Selection by Sympatric African Insectivorous Bats
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Abstract

We used mist nets, ultrasonic sensors, light tags, and analysis of feces to examine habitat use, activity patterns, and prey selection of some insectivorous bats during the dry season at the Sengwa Wild Life Research Area (18⚬10'S; 28⚬13'E) between 7 and 28 June 1977. The results show broad overlap in all parameters investigated for the 13 species present in the area during the dry season. During the wet season, some species of insectivorous bats relied more on beetles than on moths as food, or vice versa. The lack of food partitioning, particularly in the dry season, appears to conflict with theories of niches and competitive exclusion, but it is in accord with predictions based on optimum foraging strategy. We conclude that most insectivorous bats are opportunistic feeders, a strategy which results in a mosaic of specialized and generalized diets and which is compatible with their energetic demands. We report the first record of Tadarida chapini from Zimbabwe (Rhodesia).

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