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Publication Date

2012

Keywords

Diet; Food habits; Hoary bat

Abstract

Information on diets is fundamental to ecological studies. Prey use by the solitary, tree-roosting hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) in agricultural landscapes is not known. We examined the stomach contents and fecal material from carcasses of hoary bats collected during a mortality study at wind turbine sites in southwestern Minnesota. We compared diet of hoary bats to availability of prey to determine whether bats were opportunistic or selective. Food of the hoary bats primarily consisted of lepidopterans (moths; 49-50 %) and coleopterans (beetles; 28-40 %). The abundance of insects in the diet of hoary bats was not proportional to the estimated availability of prey. Hoary bats selected large, soft-bodied insects (e.g., lepidopterans and neuropterans) and avoided small or hard-bodied insects (e.g., coleopterans, dipterans, and hemipterans). We suggest that hoary bats do not select prey based on availability, but rather, select prey that are large and soft-bodied.

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