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Selection of Roost Sites by Honduran White Bats, Ectophylla Alba (Chiroptera: Phyllostomatidae)

Timm, Robert M., Mortimer, Jeanne
Ecology 1976 v.57 no.2 pp. 385-389
Chiroptera, Heliconia, cutting, evolution, forests, leaves, roosting behavior, roots
Ectophylla alba H. Allen (Chiroptera: Phyllostomatidae), the Honduran white bat, was found to alter the leaves of five species of Heliconia (H. imbricata, H. laptispatha, H. pogonantha, H. tortuosa, and an undescribed species) for use as diurnal roosts. By cutting the side veins extending out from the midrib, the bats cause the two sides of the leaf to fold down around the midrib forming a tent. More tents were found on H. imbricata and H tortuosa than on the other three species, but these were the most abundant species at the Costa Rican locality. The bats appeared to be selecting size—class of leaves for tent construction rather than leaves of a particular species of Heliconia. Honduran white bats were found roosting in groups of 1—6 individuals. It appeared that a colony of bats roots in a number of tents scattered within the forest. An hypothesis of leaf size selection, tent utilization, and evolution of tent construction is presented.