Picky eating potentially perilous for bats

July 25, 2007

Working in the Department of Ecology and Organismal Biology, Justin Boyles and Jonathan Storm examined the possibility of a link between dietary specialization and the risk of extinction for bats in Australia, Europe and North America.

Their study, published in the July 25 edition of the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, indicates that “species of conservation concern often have a more specialized diet than common species,” said Boyles.

Additional analyses show that dietary breadth is not related to either geographic range size or wing structure, characteristics previously found to be associated with extinction risk in bats.

Previous research has shown that habitat loss, roost availability, and gregariousness influence the extinction risk of bats, but the Indiana State study suggests that dietary specialization may also play a role.

“The link between dietary specialization and extinction risk seems intuitive, so it is surprising that previous studies have failed to find this relationship,” said Storm.

Boyles and Storm propose that dietary specialization may be an important characteristic for conservation biologists to consider when evaluating the extinction risk of bat species. In addition, their study may help develop models for predicting a species’ risk of extinction. However, “similar studies are needed on additional bat families before we can fully understand the relationship between dietary breadth and extinction risk,” Boyles and Storm said.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Estimates of conservation risk for Kimberley freshwater fish may be too low

Related Stories

By the light of January's Wolf Moon

January 11, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- A cold-eyed moon rises above Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. It is January. For Native Americans, it is the time of the Wolf Moon.

Study: Ecological effects of biodiversity loss underestimated

November 30, 2010

Children aren't the only youngsters who are picky eaters: More than half of all species are believed to change their diets -- sometimes more than once -- between birth and adulthood. And a new study by ecologists at Rice ...

Study: Butterflyfish may face extinction

February 26, 2008

An Australian-U.S. study suggests the black, white and yellow butterflyfish admired by eco-tourists and aquarium keepers might be at risk of extinction.

Recommended for you

Innovations from the wild world of optics and photonics

August 2, 2015

Traditional computers manipulate electrons to turn our keystrokes and Google searches into meaningful actions. But as components of the computer processor shrink to only a few atoms across, those same electrons become unpredictable ...

Shedding light on millipede evolution

August 2, 2015

As an National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded entomologist, Virginia Tech's Paul Marek has to spend much of his time in the field, hunting for rare and scientifically significant species. He's provided NSF with an inside ...

Better together: graphene-nanotube hybrid switches

August 2, 2015

Graphene has been called a wonder material, capable of performing great and unusual material acrobatics. Boron nitride nanotubes are no slackers in the materials realm either, and can be engineered for physical and biological ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.