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Intraspecific variation in wing loading affects habitat use by little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus).

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Matina C. Kalcounis-Rüppell, Associate Professor (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Morphological constraints have been linked to habitat partitioning by different species of animals. Interspecific differences have been explored, but less is known about the relationship between individuals of the same species. The purpose of this study was to determine if habitat use by little brown bats (Myotis luctfugus) varies with body mass of individuals. From aerodynamic thcory, we predicted that bats with higher body mass will have highcr wing loadings, should be less manoeuvrable, and thus tend to forage in areas where there are fewer obstacles to detect and avoid (clutter). Habitat was ranked into four zones based on the degree of clutter, and habitat use was assessed by measuring the time that males and non-reproductive, pregnant, lactating, postiactating, and artificially loaded females spent in each habitat zone. To test the assumption that a selective advantage accrues to bats foraging in clutter, we measured the availability of flying insects in cluttered and open habitats. Insect trap samples revealed a higher density of insect prey in more cluttered habitats. Body mass was positively correlated with wing loading. Overall, males were smaller than females with respcct to mass and wing loading; however, these differences did not translate into differential habitat use. As predicted, there was a significant relationship between individual wing loading and habitat use, with heavier bats (greater wing loading) foraging in less cluttered areas.

Additional Information

Publication
Canadian Journal of Zoology 73:89-95
Language: English
Date: 1995
Keywords
Little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus), Habitat, Wing loading