Dependence on cacti and agaves in nectar-feeding bats from Venezuelan arid zones

Jafet M. Nassar, Harald Beck, Leonel Sternberg, Theodore H. Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We used stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses to test the hypothesis that nectar-feeding bats Leptonycteris curasoae and Glossophaga longirostris depend on cacti and agaves as food sources in Venezuelan arid zones and to compare their trophic positions. We measured the isotopic compositions of muscle tissue in the 2 species during 1 year at 3 arid locations. Overall carbon isotopic composition (∂13C) of L. curasoae (-11.76‰) and G. longirostris (-13.28‰) resembled values characteristic of columnar cacti and agaves (-12.47‰), which have in common the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthetic pathway. L. curasoae appears to be more dependent on cacti and agaves (98% CAM in the diet) than G. longirostris (85% CAM in the diet). CAM dependence, as we designate dependence on cacti and agaves, was evidenced across sites. Level of CAM dependence slightly varied over the year only in G. longirostris. We concluded that the 2 species of bats mainly rely on CAM plants in Venezuelan arid zones. Overall nitrogen isotopic composition (∂15N) did not differ between L. curasoae (15.87‰) and G. longirostris (15.37‰). Although our results suggest that the 2 bats occupy the same trophic position, no conclusive evidence supported this observation. The strong interdependence between these bats and their host CAM plants in northern South America suggests that a disturbance affecting 1 component of the interaction would have a strong effect on the other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-116
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume84
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

Fingerprint

Agave
crassulacean acid metabolism
Cactaceae
Plant Nectar
nectar feeding
Crassulacean acid metabolism
cactus
nectar
bat
arid zones
Chiroptera
Acids
isotopic composition
Nitrogen Isotopes
Carbon Isotopes
diet
Diet
South America
carbon
nitrogen isotope

Keywords

  • Arid zones
  • CAM plants
  • Carbon
  • Glossophaga longirostris
  • Leptonycteris curasoae
  • Nectar-feeding bats
  • Nitrogen
  • Stable isotopes
  • Venezuela

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Dependence on cacti and agaves in nectar-feeding bats from Venezuelan arid zones. / Nassar, Jafet M.; Beck, Harald; Sternberg, Leonel; Fleming, Theodore H.

In: Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 84, No. 1, 01.02.2003, p. 106-116.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nassar, Jafet M. ; Beck, Harald ; Sternberg, Leonel ; Fleming, Theodore H. / Dependence on cacti and agaves in nectar-feeding bats from Venezuelan arid zones. In: Journal of Mammalogy. 2003 ; Vol. 84, No. 1. pp. 106-116.
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