Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1381–1397 | Cite as

Phyllostomid bat assemblages in different successional stages of tropical rain forest in Chiapas, Mexico

  • Erika de la Peña-Cuéllar
  • Kathryn E. Stoner
  • Luis Daniel Avila-Cabadilla
  • Miguel Martínez-Ramos
  • Alejando Estrada
Original Paper


Due to their role in seed dispersal, changes in the community of phyllostomid bats have direct consequences on ecological succession. The objective of this work was to document changes in the structure of bat assemblages among secondary successional stages of tropical rain forest in Chiapas, Mexico. Bats were mist-netted at ground level during 18 months in 10 sites belonging to 3 successional stages: four sites represented early succession (2–8 years of abandonment), four intermediate succession (10–20 years of abandonment), and two late succession (mature old-growth forest).We captured 1,179 phyllostomids comprising 29 species. Phyllostomid species richness was 17 (58% of all species) in the early stage, 18 (62%) in the intermediate stage and 24 (83%) in the late stage. The late successional mature forest possessed nine species that were exclusively found there, whereas early and intermediate successional stages contained only one exclusive species. Sturnira lilium, Artibeus lituratus, Carollia perpicillata, Artibeus jamaicensis and Glossophaga soricina represented 88% of all captured phyllostomid bats. Frugivores made up more than 90% of the species captured in early and intermediate successional stages and 84% in late successional forest. The Bray–Curtis index of dissimilarity showed a replacement of species through successional stages with the largest dissimilarity between early and late stages, followed by intermediate and late, and the lowest dissimilarity between early and intermediate stages. The number of gleaning insectivore species increased during succession. The carnivorous guild was exclusively found in the late stage (three species). We conclude that the late successional mature forest was the main reservoir for the gleaning insectivore and carnivore guilds; however, early and intermediate successional stages possessed a great diversity of species including many frugivores.


Species richness Community structure Diversity Frugivores Guilds Phyllostomid bats Succession 



This research is part of the Manejo de Bosques Tropicales (MABOTRO) program and was supported by grants from SEMARNAT-CONACyT and SEP-CONACyT, Mexico (Grants 2002-01-0597 and 2005-51043). We thank the Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegida (CONANP) for granting permits to work in the MABR and to the Graduate Program in Biological Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Erika de la Peña-Cuéllar acknowledges the scholarship and financial support provided by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), and UNAM. We are grateful to R. Lombera-Estrada, A. Jamangapee and J. L. Peña-Mondragón for their valuable assistance in the field. We are grateful for technical support provided by J. M. Lobato-García and H. Ferreria.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erika de la Peña-Cuéllar
    • 1
  • Kathryn E. Stoner
    • 2
  • Luis Daniel Avila-Cabadilla
    • 1
  • Miguel Martínez-Ramos
    • 1
  • Alejando Estrada
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones en EcosistemasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Health SciencesTexas A&M University-KingsvilleKingsvilleUSA
  3. 3.Estacion de Biología “Los Tuxtlas”, Instituto de BiologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoSan Andrés TuxtlaMexico

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