Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

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Differences between caves with and without bats in a Brazilian karst habitat

Torquetti, Camila GSilva, Marcos XavierTalamoni, Sônia A

Since bats shelter in roosts during their period of diurnal inactivity, the quality and availability of roosts are important aspects of their ecology. Karst areas have great potential for the availability of day roosts, since they form caves, which serve as bat shelters. Here we characterize the caves used by bats in a preserved karst area of Southeastern Brazil. Using logistic regression analysis we identified the cave characteristics that influence bat occupation. Sixty-six caves were characterized based on measurements of internal height and width, height and width of the entrance(s) of the cave, number of entrances, maximum horizontal development of cave, and internal temperature and humidity. In nineteen months we found 14 species in 32 caves. Most species were eventually recorded in multiple caves, with the exception of D. rotundus, G. soricina and A. planirostris, which were always found in the same caves. Desmodus rotundus showed maternity roost fidelity. We found no differences in microclimate between the caves that are occupied and those that are not. In other words, the microclimate of the caves studied herein can be characterized as stable over the years. The only predictor affecting the presence of bats in the study area was the cave’s maximum horizontal development: the caves that are occupied have greater horizontal development. Based on our results, we conclude that bats occupy many of the caves and that some species are more frequent in certain caves than in others, including some roosts that are used as maternity roosts. These findings indicate that these caves are important resources for the bats in the karst environment studied, and should be preserved.(AU)

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