Mammalian Biology

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 214–221 | Cite as

Roosting behavior and group stability of the big fruit-eating bat Artibeus lituratus (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)

  • Mariana Muñoz-RomoEmail author
  • Emilio A. Herrera
  • Thomas H. Kunz
Original Investigation


The roosting behavior of the big fruit-eating bat, Artibeus lituratus (Phyllostomidae, Stenodermatinae) in an Andean region of Venezuela is described. Sixty-four video recordings made at three separate foliage roosts during 1 year showed that group size varied between two and 14 individuals. One male was regularly observed roosting with more females than others, and this male was associated with the highest quality roost, defined here as the highest, most structurally stable, and least disturbed. Males invariably occupied exclusive roosts during the study, whereas females frequently moved among adjacent roosts. The high roost fidelity of males appears to be related to the defense of the highest quality roosts. Because females were observed roosting with each of the three males present at the study site, female groups were considered unstable. We suggest that shuttling movements of individuals may reflect a commonly observed adaptation of foliage roosting bats related to the avoidance of predators and/or parasites. The type of male–female association observed in A. lituratus is consistent with a resource defense polygyny hypothesis.


Artibeus lituratus Roosting behavior Group stability Roost fidelity Venezuela 

Quartiernutzung und Gruppenstabilität bei der großen, Frucht fressenden Fledermaus Artibeus lituratus (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)


Die Studie beschreibt Beobachtungen zum Quartiernutzungsverhalten der großen, Frucht fressenden Fledermaus Artibeus lituratus in der Andenregion Venezuelas. Vierundsechzig Videoaufnahmen von drei separaten Blattquartieren über den Zeitraum von einem Jahr zeigten, dass die Gruppengröße zwischen zwei und 14 Individuen schwankt. Das Männchen, das das qualitativ hochwertigste Quartier, d.h. das höchste, stabilste und am wenigsten gestörte Blatt, nutzte, wurde auch regelmäßig mit mehr Weibchen angetroffen als die anderen Männchen. Die Männchen nutzten ausschließlich das gleiche Blatt als Quartier, während die Weibchen häufig zwischen benachbarten Quartieren wechselten. Die hohe Quartiertreue der Männchen scheint mit der Verteidigung hochwertiger Quartiere in Zusammenhang zu stehen. Da die Weibchen mit jedem der drei Männchen des Studiengebietes zeitweise das Quartier teilten, wurden die Weibchengruppen als instabil gewertet. Wir sind der Ansicht, dass Quartierwechsel eine Anpassung Blatt bewohnender Fledermäuse ist, um Raubfeinde und Parasitenbefall zu vermeiden. Die beobachtete Männchen-Weibchen-Vergesellschaftung bei Artibeus lituratus stimmt mit der „Resource Defense Polygyny”-Hypothese” überein.


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariana Muñoz-Romo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emilio A. Herrera
    • 1
  • Thomas H. Kunz
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Estudios AmbientalesUniversidad Simón BolívarCaracasVenezuela
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Center for Ecology and Conservation BiologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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