Journal of Tropical Ecology

Research Article

Feeding strategy and activity budget of the frugivorous bat Carollia perspicillata (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) in French Guiana

P. Charles-Dominiquea1

a1 ECOTROP and URA 1183, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Laboratoire d'Ecologie Générate, Muséum National d'Histoire Nalurelle, 4 avenue du Petit Château 91800 Brunoy, France.

Abstract

The frugivorous phyllostomid bat Carollia perspicillata is closely associated with specific fruits which are found and picked in flight, then eaten at a feeding roost. Each fruit eaten corresponds to a single flight. An apparatus designed for this study permits the simultancous tracking of 10 bats equipped with double rhythm transmitters (slow rate corresponding to resting position and rapid rate to flying bouts). (1) The number of flights, (2) the percentage time spent flying and (3) the range of activity were recorded for different categories of animals during two periods of fruit production. Heavier males displayed high activity, while other males, non-breeding females and females in early pregnancy displayed a similar pattern of flying behaviour. Full-term pregnant females and lactating females performed almost as many flying bouts as non-reproductive females, but these flights were much shorter. This unexpected feeding strategy can be interpreted as a means of shifting energy to reproductive effort from exploratory behaviour (non-breeding females performed longer flights which combine the survey of environment and the fruit collection). This strategy, based upon the optimization of flying bouts, is in contrast to those of non-flying mammals and probably is only compatible with periods of high food production.

(Accepted July 12 1990)