Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor

Brock Fenton

Abstract

Pollinator and flower morphology are important factors in structuring the plant-pollinator relationship. A pollinator’s morphology may influence aspects of its diet. Flower-visiting bats are an important pollinator group but very little is known about what influences their interactions with food plants. I examined the role of morphology in the partitioning of food resources for five species of flower-visiting Cuban bats. I analyzed cranial traits and body size to examine differences among species and to determine the degree of morphological specialization for flower-feeding for each species. I also collected dietary data from guano and used acoustic monitoring to assess bat activity at flowers. I found evidence of partitioning of plant resources among the bat species, although evidence of limiting resources was not observed. Morphological similarity between species did not predict dietary overlap. However, species differing in their morphological specialization for flower-feeding consumed resources and visited food plants at different frequencies.


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