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The Role of Nitrogen from Fruit Pulp in the Nutrition of the Frugivorous Bat Carollia perspicillata

Lawrence H. Herbst
Biotropica
Vol. 18, No. 1 (Mar., 1986), pp. 39-44
DOI: 10.2307/2388360
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388360
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Role of Nitrogen from Fruit Pulp in the Nutrition of the Frugivorous Bat Carollia perspicillata
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Abstract

Nutritional analyses were performed on several fruit species that are eaten by the neotropical frugivorous bat Carollia persptcillata. All essential amino acids assayed were found to be present in fruit pulp. Compared to the relative amounts of essential amino acids required for growth by laboratory rats, methionine and lysine were the most limiting amino acids in fruit protein. Captive bats were fed fruits of either Chlorophora tinctoria or Muntingia calabura so that the digestibilities of pulp nitrogen and gross energy could be determined. Digestibility estimates were lower than those found for Artibeus jamaicensis fed fruits of Ficus insipida, but this was probably caused by methodological differences. The measures of nutrient content and digestibility were used with estimates of daily nitrogen and energy requirements of bats to predict the amount of pulp needed to meet these requirements. Fruits were judged to be adequate nitrogen sources if the amount predicted to satisfy nitrogen requirements was less than that to satisfy energy requirements. By thus criterion, most fruits were found to be adequate for maintenance metabolism; only fruit of Piper amalago was adequate for lactating bats. However, when amino acid deficiencies were considered, Piper amalago fruit was adequate only for maintenance metabolism, and no other fruits met this requirement. Insects found in fruit pulp were insufficient to constitute an important nitrogen source. Thus, if insects are important nitrogen sources they must be actively sought by bats. However, this analysis suggests that by selecting certain fruit species, frugivorous bats may not need to supplement their diets with insects.

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