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In the Neotropics, bat-pollinated plants secrete relatively dilute nectars dominated by hexoses (glucose and fructose) with only small amounts of sucrose. We investigated the concentration and sugar composition preferences of Saussure's long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae) and the long-tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina) to test the hypothesis that bats prefer the predominant characteristics (sugar composition and concentration) found in their natural diets. We offered bats pairs of test diets in large outdoor enclosures that allowed free flying. We used artificial nectars that simulated compositions and concentrations found in flowers visited by these 2 species at the study site. Contrary to our predictions, bats showed no preference between sugar types when test solutions had the same concentration. However, L. curasoae preferred concentrated over dilute solutions independent of sugar type. Only 1 preference for concentrated over dilute solutions was recorded for G. soricina. Both species of bat appeared to perceive sugar types as energetically equivalent in most trials. Our study rejects the hypothesis that nectar-feeding neotropical bats act as a selective pressure on nectar composition in chiropterophilous plants. Other possible explanations for the predominance of hexose in chiropterophilous flowers need to be evaluated.
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Although the main focus of this volume centers on the Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister), there are 18 other species of woodrats in North America (Table 11.1) and several present serious conservation challenges. Some of these species, or subspecies, of woodrats have declined for many of the same reasons as N. magister, whereas the decline of others relates to unique factors associated with insular distribution. In this chapter, we summarize conservation efforts toward recovery of former population abundance and distribution of woodrat taxa that are listed at the federal or state level. We specifically focus on the conservation status of the state-endangered eastern woodrat (N. floridana illinoensis) in Illinois, and describe a translocation and reintroduction effort initiated there. Conservation and management of this species is discussed in the context of general principles that are applicable to the closely related N. magister and other declining species. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
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