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An inordinate fondness for beetles? Variation in seasonal dietary preferences of night-roosting big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus).
Mol Ecol 2014; 23(15):3633-47ME

Abstract

Generalist species with numerous food web interactions are thought to provide stability to ecosystem dynamics; however, it is not always clear whether habitat generality translates into dietary diversity. Big brown bats are common across North America and employ a flexible foraging strategy over water, dense forests, forest edges and rural and urban settings. Despite this generalist use of habitat, they are paradoxically characterized as beetle specialists. However, hard carapaces may preferentially survive digestion leading to over-representation during morphological analysis of diet. This specialization has not been evaluated independently using molecular analysis and species-level identification of prey. We used next-generation sequencing to assess the diet of big brown bats. Beetles were consumed in the highest frequency but Lepidoptera species richness was highest among identified prey. The consumption of species showed strong seasonal and annual variation. While Coleoptera consumption varied, Lepidoptera and Ephemeroptera were relatively constant dietary components. Dietary diversity increased in late summer when insect diversity decreases. Our results indicate that big brown bats are dietary generalists and, while beetles are an important component of the diet, Lepidoptera are equally important, and Lepidoptera and Ephemeroptera are the only stable prey resource exploited. As resources become limited, big brown bats may respond by increasing the species richness of prey and thus their connectedness in the ecosystem. This characterization of diet corresponds well with a generalist approach to foraging, making them an important species in encouraging and maintaining ecosystem stability.

Authors

No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25187921

Citation

Clare, Elizabeth L., et al. "An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles? Variation in Seasonal Dietary Preferences of Night-roosting Big Brown Bats (Eptesicus Fuscus)." Molecular Ecology, vol. 23, no. 15, 2014, pp. 3633-47.
Clare EL, Symondson WO, Fenton MB. An inordinate fondness for beetles? Variation in seasonal dietary preferences of night-roosting big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Mol Ecol. 2014;23(15):3633-47.
Clare, E. L., Symondson, W. O., & Fenton, M. B. (2014). An inordinate fondness for beetles? Variation in seasonal dietary preferences of night-roosting big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Molecular Ecology, 23(15), pp. 3633-47.
Clare EL, Symondson WO, Fenton MB. An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles? Variation in Seasonal Dietary Preferences of Night-roosting Big Brown Bats (Eptesicus Fuscus). Mol Ecol. 2014;23(15):3633-47. PubMed PMID: 25187921.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - An inordinate fondness for beetles? Variation in seasonal dietary preferences of night-roosting big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). AU - Clare,Elizabeth L, AU - Symondson,William O C, AU - Fenton,Melville Brockett, PY - 2014/9/5/entrez PY - 2014/9/5/pubmed PY - 2014/10/3/medline SP - 3633 EP - 47 JF - Molecular ecology JO - Mol. Ecol. VL - 23 IS - 15 N2 - Generalist species with numerous food web interactions are thought to provide stability to ecosystem dynamics; however, it is not always clear whether habitat generality translates into dietary diversity. Big brown bats are common across North America and employ a flexible foraging strategy over water, dense forests, forest edges and rural and urban settings. Despite this generalist use of habitat, they are paradoxically characterized as beetle specialists. However, hard carapaces may preferentially survive digestion leading to over-representation during morphological analysis of diet. This specialization has not been evaluated independently using molecular analysis and species-level identification of prey. We used next-generation sequencing to assess the diet of big brown bats. Beetles were consumed in the highest frequency but Lepidoptera species richness was highest among identified prey. The consumption of species showed strong seasonal and annual variation. While Coleoptera consumption varied, Lepidoptera and Ephemeroptera were relatively constant dietary components. Dietary diversity increased in late summer when insect diversity decreases. Our results indicate that big brown bats are dietary generalists and, while beetles are an important component of the diet, Lepidoptera are equally important, and Lepidoptera and Ephemeroptera are the only stable prey resource exploited. As resources become limited, big brown bats may respond by increasing the species richness of prey and thus their connectedness in the ecosystem. This characterization of diet corresponds well with a generalist approach to foraging, making them an important species in encouraging and maintaining ecosystem stability. SN - 1365-294X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25187921/An_inordinate_fondness_for_beetles_Variation_in_seasonal_dietary_preferences_of_night_roosting_big_brown_bats__Eptesicus_fuscus__ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.12519 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -