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      Bat guilds, a concept to classify the highly diverse foraging and echolocation behaviors of microchiropteran bats


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          Throughout evolution the foraging and echolocation behaviors as well as the motor systems of bats have been adapted to the tasks they have to perform while searching and acquiring food. When bats exploit the same class of environmental resources in a similar way, they perform comparable tasks and thus share similar adaptations independent of their phylogeny. Species with similar adaptations are assigned to guilds or functional groups. Habitat type and foraging mode mainly determine the foraging tasks and thus the adaptations of bats. Therefore, we use habitat type and foraging mode to define seven guilds. The habitat types open, edge and narrow space are defined according to the bats' echolocation behavior in relation to the distance between bat and background or food item and background. Bats foraging in the aerial, trawling, flutter detecting, or active gleaning mode use only echolocation to acquire their food. When foraging in the passive gleaning mode bats do not use echolocation but rely on sensory cues from the food item to find it. Bat communities often comprise large numbers of species with a high diversity in foraging areas, foraging modes, and diets. The assignment of species living under similar constraints into guilds identifies patterns of community structure and helps to understand the factors that underlie the organization of highly diverse bat communities. Bat species from different guilds do not compete for food as they differ in their foraging behavior and in the environmental resources they use. However, sympatric living species belonging to the same guild often exploit the same class of resources. To avoid competition they should differ in their niche dimensions. The fine grain structure of bat communities below the rather coarse classification into guilds is determined by mechanisms that result in niche partitioning.

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          Most cited references62

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          The Niche Exploitation Pattern of the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

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            Echolocation by Insect-Eating Bats

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              Morphology, Echolocation and Resource Partitioning in Insectivorous Bats


                Author and article information

                Front Physiol
                Front Physiol
                Front. Physiol.
                Frontiers in Physiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                03 July 2013
                : 4
                : 164
                Animal Physiology, Institute for Neurobiology, University of Tübingen Tübingen, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Mariana L. Melcón, Fundación Cethus, Argentina

                Reviewed by: Walter Metzner, University of California, Los Angeles, USA; Ralph Simon, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

                *Correspondence: Annette Denzinger, Animal Physiology, Institute for Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tübingen, Germany e-mail: annette.denzinger@ 123456uni-tuebingen.de

                This article was submitted to Frontiers in Integrative Physiology, a specialty of Frontiers in Physiology.

                Copyright © 2013 Denzinger and Schnitzler.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

                : 07 March 2013
                : 13 June 2013
                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 102, Pages: 15, Words: 12995
                Hypothesis and Theory Article

                Anatomy & Physiology
                bat,echolocation,guild,community structure,habitat,foraging behavior
                Anatomy & Physiology
                bat, echolocation, guild, community structure, habitat, foraging behavior


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