Use of linear features by the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) in a tropical cattle-ranching landscape

Rafael Avila-Flores, Ana Lucía Bolaina-Badal, Adriana Gallegos-Ruiz, Wendy S. Sánchez-Gómez


Linear landscape features are used by many species of insectivorous bats as flight routes and foraging zones, as well as for providing protection against environmental factors and predation. However, very little is known about the role that these landscape features play for non-insectivorous species. In this study, we evaluated the use of linear features by the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) in a cattle-ranching landscape in the state of Tabasco, Mexico. We selected 24 sampling sites in 2014 and 24 independent sites in 2016 to 2017, all adjacent to three types of linear landscape features: forest edges, live fences and streams . We monitored each site for two non-consecutive nights between February and April 2014, and every two months from February 2016 to June 2017. We placed 24 m (2014) or 12 m (2016 to 2017) of mist nets perpendicular to the linear feature from its edge. We recorded the height and distance from the edge for each individual captured. In total we captured 50 D. rotundus individuals in 2014 and 58 in 2016 to 2017. The average flight height was 77 cm for the 2014 data and 69 cm for 2016 to 2017. According to our results, the most used linear features were forest edges, followed by live fences and streams. Overall, 52 % of the 2014 captures and 62 % of the 2016 to 2017 ones occurred in the first 2 m from the edge, with the number of captures gradually decreasing with increasing distance. This study provides information on the commuting patterns of D. rotundus in predominantly open cattle-ranching landscapes.

Palabras clave

forest edges; hematophagous bat; live fences; movement patterns; streams.

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