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Species Composition, Abundance and Vertical Stratification of a Bat Community (Megachiroptera: Pteropodidae) in a West African Rain Forest

Mickael Henry, Patrick Barrière, Annie Gautier-Hion and Marc Colyn
Journal of Tropical Ecology
Vol. 20, No. 1 (Jan., 2004), pp. 21-29
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4091882
Page Count: 9
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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.
Species Composition, Abundance and Vertical Stratification of a Bat Community (Megachiroptera: Pteropodidae) in a West African Rain Forest
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Abstract

A pteropodid bat community was surveyed in a West African rain forest using mist-nets set for 3 mo in 2 consecutive years (1996-97). The captures were carried out in the understorey and in the canopy for a total of 5054 mist-net hours and were analysed to answer three main questions: (1) to what extent does the bat assemblage vary along the vertical axis, (2) does the observed vertical stratification depend on wingspan (with largest bats preferring canopy openings to the cluttered understorey) and (3) was the vertical stratification repeatable from one year to the next? Nine bat species were reported, among which two were captured exclusively in the canopy where the total capture rate tended to be higher. The community structure did not differ between the four canopy stations. Four species significantly favoured canopy, two significantly favoured understorey and two were opportunistic regarding vertical stratification. Wing size and canopy-preference index were not significantly correlated and except for Eidolon helvum, index values for the 2 sampling years were correlated. Important inter-annual and seasonal variations of species richness and capture rate were observed and these are discussed in relation to rainfall patterns and migratory behaviour of the species concerned.

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