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Sugar gustatory thresholds and sugar selection in two species of Neotropical nectar-eating bats


, : Sugar gustatory thresholds and sugar selection in two species of Neotropical nectar-eating bats. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology 164(2): 307-313

Nectar-feeding bats play an important role in natural communities acting as pollinators; however, the characteristics that affect their food selection are unclear. Here we explore the role that sugar gustatory thresholds and sugar concentration play on sugar selection of Glossophaga soricina and Leptonycteris yerbabuenae. We offered bats paired feeders containing sugar solutions of sucrose (S), glucose (G) or fructose (F) vs. pure water, and sucrose vs. 1:1 equicaloric solutions of glucose-fructose at 5, 15 and 35% (wt./vol.). To see the effect of sweetness on sugar selection, we habituated bats with a diet containing either sucrose or hexoses and subsequently evaluated sugar preferences. Sugar thresholds were S<G,F for G. soricina and G<S<F for L. yerbabuenae. These thresholds did not match with sugar preferences when bats fed on dilute nectars. Leptonycteris yerbabuenae changed its sugar preferences with concentration while G. soricina did not. Finally, bats consistently preferred the sugar they were habituated to. Our results suggest that bats become accustomed to the sugar found in the most abundant plants they use, and thus prefer the most common sugars included in their diet. This could confer an advantage by allowing them shifting sugar preferences on the most common food present in their environment.

US$19.90

PMID: 23085289

DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2012.10.019


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