Ecomorphological analysis of the masticatory apparatus in the seed-eating bats, genus Chiroderma (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)

Authors

  • Marcelo R. Nogueira,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratório de Mastozoologia–IB, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, 23890-000, Seropédica, RJ, Brazil
      *M. R. Nogueira. E-mail: mrnogueira@rionet.com.br
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  • Leandro R. Monteiro,

    1. Laboratório de Ciências Ambientais–CBB, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, 28013-600, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil
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  • Adriano L. Peracchi,

    1. Laboratório de Mastozoologia–IB, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, 23890-000, Seropédica, RJ, Brazil
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  • Alexandre F. B. de Araújo

    1. Laboratório de Ecologia de Vertebrados, IB, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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*M. R. Nogueira. E-mail: mrnogueira@rionet.com.br

Abstract

Recent data have shown that owing to their seed-predator capacity Chiroderma doriae and Chiroderma villosum trophically depart from all previously studied species within the canopy fruit-bat ensemble. In this paper, the hypothesis that morphological adaptations related to granivory have evolved in these bats is investigated and discussed. A canonical variate analysis was used to search for possible divergent trends between the masticatory apparatus of Chiroderma and other stenodermatines currently recognized in the same ensemble. A total of 142 specimens representative of eight species was included in the analysis. Species of Chiroderma can be discriminated from all other species in the sample based on the increased development of masseter-related variables (height of the anterior zygomatic arch, masseter moment arm, and masseter volume), which, in conjunction with other morphological characteristics (dentition and gape angle) discussed herein, corroborates the evolution of durophagy in this group. A complementary analysis based on a Mantel test revealed that the pattern of morphological differentiation that emerged from the canonical variate analysis does not agree with the one expected based solely on the phylogenetic relationships adopted for the canopy fruit-bats studied here. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that morphological adaptations related to granivory have evolved in Chiroderma.

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