Ecological gradients explain variation of phyllostomid bat (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) diversity in Honduras

Manfredo A. Turcios-Casco, Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, Gabriela Franzoi Dri, Niltón Cáceres, Richard Stevens, Cristian de Sales Dambros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Geographical barriers, distance, and environmental gradients may determine variation in species composition of bat assemblages in tropical regions. For example, bats assume a wide variety of foraging strategies, dietary traits, different flight abilities, and New World leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae) are among the most functionally diverse family of bats. Nonetheless, this variation remains uncharacterized in Honduras. Our study investigated the relationship of environmental and climatic variables that influence leaf-nosed bat assemblages in terms of alpha and beta taxonomic and functional diversity. From February 2015 to May 2019, we sampled 56 sites and captured 1086 phyllostomid bats. We found that taxonomic alpha diversity decreased with elevation, and that functional alpha diversity decreased with elevation and humidity. Changes in taxonomic β-diversity were associated with elevation and changes in functional β-diversity were associated with humidity, elevation, and precipitation. Our findings suggest that elevation is the key environmental variable influencing New World leaf-nosed bat assemblages in Honduras, and even though species composition varies among different habitats, the functional composition of assemblages remains similar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-961
Number of pages13
JournalMammalian Biology
Volume101
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Alpha diversity
  • Beta diversity
  • Central America
  • Gradients
  • New World leaf-nosed bats
  • Turnover

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