Zoological Studies

Vol. 59, 2020

(update: 2020.10.15)

Ecological Morphology of Neotropical Bat Wing Structures

Dennis Castillo-Figueroa


Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Unidad de Ecología y Sistemática (UNESIS), Bogotá 11001000, Colombia. E-mail: dennis.castillof@gmail.com

Received 5 May 2020 / Accepted 17 September 2020
Communicated by Chi-Chien Kuo

Morphology 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 the subject of comprehensive research when studying wing morphology. Here, I analyzed morphological variations of wing structures across 11 bat guilds and how individual bone structures are correlated 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 using aerial strategy in uncluttered habitats had longer third digits but short fifth digits compared to guilds that rely on gleaning strategy and forage in highly cluttered space. Although terminal phalanges were shown 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 to 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 59:0ss. doi:-.

Supplementary Materials: Table S1