Can Metacarpals and Phalanges Reflect Habitat Use and Foraging Mode in New World Bats?

Importance of the article: Morphological diversity in bats has been largely focused on wing shape by employing traditional measures (i.e., wing loading, aspect ratio, wingtip index). However, other approaches based on individual bones and structures that support the wing such as metacarpals and phalanges have been poorly investigated. This study demonstrated that wing structure is a reliable indicator of habitat use and foraging mode in Neotropical bats. Terminal phalanges represent key traits for guild discrimination, but metacarpals were also important for classifying some guilds, probably because of their potential role in flight performance and ecological adaptations. Therefore, 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.

Read the full article, published by Zoological Studies, here

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