Vol. 59, 2020
Ecological Morphology of Wing
Structures in Neotropical Bats
Universidad Javeriana, Unidad de Ecología y Sistemática (UNESIS),
Bogotá 11001000, Colombia. E-mail: dennis.castillof @gmail.com
Received 5 May 2020 / Accepted 17
Communicated by Hin-Kiu Mok Chi-Cien Kuo
has a direct influence on animal fitness. Studies addressing the
identification of patterns and variations across several guilds are
fundamental in ecomorphological research. Wings are the core of
ecological morphology in bats, nevertheless, individual bones and
structures that support the wing, including metacarpals, phalanges and
the length of digits, have rarely been subject of comprehensive
research when studying wing morphology. Here, I analyzed morphological
variations of wing structures across 11 bat guilds and correlated
individual bone structures to diet, foraging mode and habitat use. I
obtained wing measurements from 1512 voucher specimens of 97 species.
All the specimens analyzed came from the Mammalian Collection at the
Museo Javeriano de Historia Natural of Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
(MPUJ-MAMM) (Bogotá, Colombia). Positive correlations between size and
the length of the third and fifth digit were detected. Bat guilds that
capture their preys by using aerial strategy in uncluttered habitats
had longer third digits but short fifth digits in comparison to guilds
that rely on gleaning strategy and forage in highly cluttered space.
Although terminal phalanges showed to be important structures for guild
classification, metacarpals were strongly related to aerial foragers
from uncluttered habitats, because of their potential role in flight
performance and ecological adaptations. Results show that habitat use,
as well as foraging mode, are reflected in wing structures. Different
wing traits, as those evaluated in this study, should be considered to
better understand the ecological interactions, foraging strategy, wing
adaptations, and flight performance in Neotropical bats.
Key words: Chiroptera, Wing
traits, Ecomorphological relationships, Guild, Flight pattern.
Citation: Castillo-Figueroa D. 2020.
Ecological morphology of wing structures in Neotropical bats. Zool Stud