Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 1067-1073

Wing morphology, flights speeds and insights into niche structure in Caribbean bats from Dominica

Hixon, SarahBrooks, AshleyMiculka, BrianRichmond, ChristineWarrendorf, DianaWhitmire, AmandaWilkins, BethanyE. Lacher Jr., ThomasB. Woolley, James

We compiled data from six species in four families of Caribbean bats collected on the island of Dominica in order to explore the relation between wing morphology and flight speed. An 18.3 m flight tunnel was constructed in second growth rain forest using a concrete structure as a frame and large tarps to enclose the perimeter, leaving one end open. Bats were caught using mist nets in areas of both mature and second growth rain forest and disturbed habitats. Bats were moved to the tunnel area where morphological measurements were recorded and each bat was photographed with the wing extended. Wing area and wing span were measured using the program ImageJ. These data in combination with other morphological measurements were used to calculate aspect ratio and wing loading, which were each compared to flight speed. To measure flight speed, a bat was released in the flight tunnel and times were recorded at 6.1 m, 12.2 m, and 18.3 m. The findings reveal that flight speed shows little relation to aspect ratio, with the exception of Tadarida brasiliensis, and that flight speed increases as a function of wing loading. The comparison of aspect ratio to relative wing loading demonstrates strong ecomorphological segregation based on foraging mode.