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Emergence time and foraging activity in Pallas' mastiff bat, Molossus molossus (Chiroptera: Molossidae) in relation to sunset/sunrise and phase of the moon

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The decision on when to emerge from the safety of a roost and forage for prey is thought to be a result of the trade off between peak insect abundance and predation pressure for bats. In this study we show that the velvety free-tailed bat Molossus molossus emerges just after sunset and just before sunrise for very short foraging bouts (average 82.2 min foraging per night). Contrary to previous studies, bats remain inactive in their roost between activity patterns. Activity was measured over two complete lunar cycles and there was no indication that phase of the moon had an influence on emergence time or the numbers of bats that emerged from the roost. This data suggests that M. molossus represents an example of an aerial hawking bat whose foraging behaviour is in fact adapted to the compromise between the need to exploit highest prey availability and the need to avoid predation.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-12-01

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