The implications of food hardness for diet in bats
Article first published online: 23 APR 2003
Volume 17, Issue 2, pages 201–212, April 2003
How to Cite
Aguirre, L. F., Herrel, A., Van Damme, R. and MatThysen, E. (2003), The implications of food hardness for diet in bats. Functional Ecology, 17: 201–212. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2435.2003.00721.x
- Issue published online: 23 APR 2003
- Article first published online: 23 APR 2003
- Received 30 May 2002; revised 30 August 2002; accepted 21 September 2002
- Bite force;
- 1Neotropical bat communities are characterized by a broad species diversity, which can be achieved and maintained only through partitioning of the available resources.
- 2Here patterns of trophic resource utilization within a single neotropical savanna bat community are investigated. Moreover, the physical properties of food items (i.e. hardness), its variation with food size, and whether food hardness differs between items consumed by the bats in this community are investigated experimentally.
- 3The results show that food hardness increases with the size of the food item, and that distinct differences exist in the amount of force needed to crush different food items (beetles vs other insects vs fruits).
- 4Using previously published data on bite forces from species in the same community it is explored whether food hardness may play a role in shaping the diets of the bats in the community. The combined data on bite forces and food hardness indicate that food hardness can both directly and indirectly limit dietary diversity in bats.
- 5The results also indicate that dietary specialization may potentially result in a decrease in trophic breadth for some species through its effect on bite performance.