Roosting requirements of white tent-making bat Ectophylla alba (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)

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Abstract:

Roosting ecology and its correlates are among the major forces driving the evolution of bats. However, roost ecology remains one of the most poorly understood topics on the basic biology of bats. Ectophylla alba is endemic to Central America with a very small distribution. This species generally modifies leaves of a certain size within the genus Heliconia. Here we explore this species' habitat preferences for the construction of its roosts. We identified three variables as the requirements of a suitable tent-building habitat: canopy coverage, understory coverage between 0–1 m of height, and density of Heliconia. Our results show that the process of habitat selection for roost construction is highly specialized to an intermediate stage of secondary succession, which in turn, makes Ectophylla even more vulnerable to extinction than previously believed.
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