Diet of dominant frugivorous bat species in an oil palm landscape from Colombian Llanos: implications for forest conservation and recovery

María Alejandra Cely-Gómez, Dennis Castillo-Figueroa


Oil palm plantations have become a major agricultural landscape in the Neotropics, especially in Colombia, the largest oil palm producer in the region. The Orinoco, or Llanos, region of eastern Colombia is predicted to increase expansion for palm oil acreage over the coming decades, with implications for biodiversity loss. Describing dietary diversity of frugivorous bats is a functional approach to understanding the effect of oil palm dominated landscapes on bat-fruit interactions. Our objective was to characterize the diet of the dominant (most abundant) bat species present in an oil palm landscape from the Colombian Llanos. We compared diet breadth of bat species on the basis of Levin’s index and we assessed differences in the frequency of seed consumption through Chi-square tests (χ2). We calculated diet overlap with a Morisita-Horn index. We characterized diet breadth and overlap for four taxa (three species and one species complex) of bats from 149 fecal samples and 344 individual bats, from which we identified 13 seed species. Dietary composition differed significantly among bat species, as did diet breadth. Diet breadth was highest in Carollia spp. and lowest in Sturnira lilium. The greatest degree of diet overlap ocurred between Artibeus lituratus and A. planirostris and the lowest overlap between S. lilium and all the other species. Considering the functional identity of the plants dispersed by bats in our sample, where most of them are pioneer species that colonize disturbed areas, it is fundamental to preserve habitats such as forest fragments that maintain bat assemblages with diverse diets in agriculturally disturbed landscapes. This may have important implications in future restoration process at these sites.

Palabras clave

Agricultural landscape, Chiroptera, disperser importance index, ecosystem services, Orinoquia

Texto completo:

PDF (English) HTML (English)


Andrade, T. Y., W. Thies, P. K. Rogeri, E. K. Kalko, and M. A. Mello. 2013. Hierarchical fruit selection by Neotropical leaf-nosed bats (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). Journal of Mammalogy 94:1094-1101.

Burgar, J. M., M. D. Craig, and V. L. Stokes. 2015. The importance of mature forest as bat roosting habitat within a production landscape. Forest Ecology and Management 365:112-123.

Colwell, R.K., and J. Coddington. 1994. Estimating terrestrial biodiversity through extrapolation. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences Royal Society 345:101–118.

Colwell, R. K. 2013. EstimateS: Statistitcal Estimation of Species Richness and Shared Species from Samples (Software), Version 9.1. Avaliable:

Fedepalma. 2017. Anuario estadístico: Principales cifras de la agroindustria palma de aceite en Colombia (2012–2016). Bogotá, Colombia.

Fleming, T. H. 1986. Opportunism versus specialization: the evolution of feeding strategies in frugivorous bats. Pp. 105-118 in Frugivores and Seed Dispersal (Fleming, T. H., and A. Estrada eds.). Dr W Junk Publishers. Dordrecht, the Netherlands.

Giannini, N. P., and E. K. Kalko. 2004. Trophic structure in a large assemblage of Phyllostomid bats in Panama. Oikos 105:209-222.

Gonçalves da Silva, A., O. Gaona, and R. Medellín. 2008. Diet and trophic structure in a community of fruit-eating bats in Lacandon forest. Journal of Mammalogy 89:43-49.

Horn, H. S. 1966. Measurement of “Overlap” in comparative ecological studies. American Naturalist 100:419–424.

Hougner, C., J. Colding, and T. Soderqvist. 2006. Economic value of a seed dispersal service in the Stockholm National Urban Park. Ecological Economics 59:364-374.

Hulbert, S. H. 1978. The measurement of niche overlap and some relatives. Ecology 59:67-77.

Levin, R. 1968. Evolution in changing environments. Princeton University Press. New Jersey, U. S. A.

Linares, E., and E. Moreno-Mosquera. 2010. Morphology of Crecopia (Crecopiaceae) fruitlets of the Colombian pacific and its taxonomic value in the bats diets study. Caldasia 32:275-287.

Lobova, T. A., C. K. Geiselman, and S. A. Mori. 2009. Seed dispersal by bats in the Neotropics. New York Botanical Garden and Michigan University Press. New York, U. S. A.

López, J.E., and C. Vaughan. 2007. Food niche overlap among neotropical frugivorous bats in Costa Rica. Revista de Biología Tropical 55:301–313.

Mello, M. A. R., G. M. Schittini, P. Selig, and H. D. G. Bergallo. 2004. Seasonal variation in the diet of the bat Carollia perspicillata (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) in an Atlantic forest area in southeastern Brazil. Mammalia 68:49-55.

Mikich, S. B. 2002. The diet of fruit-eating bats (Mammalia, Chiroptera, Phyllostomidae) in a small semideciduous seasonal forest remnant in south Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 19:239-249.

Ministerio de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural. 2006. Apuesta exportadora agropecuaria 2006±2020. Consulted 8 September 2018. Available:

Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible. 2015. Plan Nacional de Restauración. Consulted 5 September 2018. Available:

Ocampo-Peñuela, N., J. García-Ulloa, J. Ghazoul, and A. Etter. 2018. Quantifying impacts of oil palm expansion on Colombia’s threatened biodiversity. Biological Conservation 224:117-121.

Pardo, L. E., W. F. Laurance, G. R. Clements, and W. Edwards. 2015. The impacts of oil palm agriculture on Colombia’s biodiversity: what we know and still need to know. Tropical Conservation Science 88:828–845.

Pardo, L.E., M.J. Campbell, W. Edwards, G.R. Clements, and W.F. Laurance. 2018. Terrestrial mammal responses to oil palm dominated landscapes in Colombia. PLoS ONE 13: e0197539.

Pardo, L. E., and M. Campbell. 2019. How oil palm can become more ecologically friendly. Australasian Science 40:35-37.

Pardo, A., and J. O. Rangel-Ch. 2014. Mamíferos de la Orinoquia. Pp. 751-784 in Colombia Diversidad Biótica XIV (Rangel-Ch, J. O. ed.). Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogotá, Colombia.

Patterson, B. D., M. R. Willig, and R. Stevens. 2003. Trophic strategies, niche partitioning, and patterns of ecology organization. Pp. 536-579 in Bat ecology (Kunz, T.H. and M. B Fenton, eds.). University of Chicago Press. Chicago, U. S. A.

Reid, J. L., C. D. Mendenhall, R. A. Zahawi, and K. D. Holl. 2015. Scale dependent effects of forest restoration on Neotropical fruit bats. Restoration Ecology 23:681–689.

Ríos-Blanco, C., and J. Pérez-Torres. 2015. Dieta de las especies dominantes del ensamblaje de murciélagos frugívoros en un bosque seco tropical (Colombia). Mastozoología Neotropical 22:103-111.

Saldaña-Vázquez, R.A., V. J. Sosa, V.J., L.I. Iñiguez-Dávalos and J. E. Schondube. 2013. The role of extrinsic and intrinsic factors in Neotropical fruit bat–plant interactions. Journal of Mammalogy 94:632–639.

Saldaña-Vázquez, R. A. 2014. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting dietary specialization in Neotropical frugivorous bats. Mammal Review 44:215-224.

Saldaña-Vázquez, R. A., E. Ruiz-Sanchez, L. Herrera-Alsina, and J. Schondube. 2015. Digestive capacity predicts diet diversity in Neotropical frugivorous bats. Journal of Animal Ecology 84:1-9.

Sánchez, M. S., and N. P. Giannini. 2018. Trophic structure of frugivorous bats in the Neotropics: emergent patterns in evolutionary history. Mammal Review 48:90-107.

Smith, M. D., and A. K. Knapp. 2003. Dominant species maintain ecosystem function with non-random species loss. Ecology Letters 6:509-517.

Suárez-Castro, A., and O. Montenegro. 2015. Consumo de plantas pioneras por murciélagos frugívoros en una localidad de la Orinoquia Colombiana. Mastozoología Neotropical 22:125-139.

Treitler, J. T., O. Heim, M. Tschapka, and K. Jung. 2016. The effect of local land use and loss of forests on bats and nocturnal insects. Ecology and Evolution 6:4289-4297.

York H.A., S.A. Billings. 2009 Stable-Isotope Analysis of Diets of Short-Tailed Fruit Bats (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae: Carollia). Journal of Mammalogy, 90:1469–1477.

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.


THERYA es publicada por la Asociación Mexicana de Mastozoología A. C.  Se distribuye bajo una Licencia de Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivar 4.0 Internacional.

DERECHOS DE AUTOR Y DERECHOS CONEXOS, THERYA es una publicación digital cuatrimestral editada por la Asociación Mexicana de Mastozoología A. C.  Hacienda Vista Hermosa 107, Colonia Villa Quietud, Coyoacan 04960.  Distrito Federal, México.  Telefono (612) 123-8486,  Editor responsable: Dr. Sergio Ticul Álvarez Castañeda (  Reservas de Derechos al Uso Exclusivo No. 04-2009-112812171700-102, ISSN: 2007-3364 ambos otorgados por el Instituto Nacional de Derechos de Autor.  Responsable de la última actualización de este número, Unidad de informática de la Asociación Mexicana de Mastozoología A. C.  Dr. Sergio Ticul Álvarez Castañeda.  Instituto Politécnico Nacional 195.  La Paz, Baja California Sur, C. P. 23096.  Tel 612 123 8486.