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Data from: From resource to female defence: the impact of roosting ecology on a bat's mating strategy

By Linus Günther, Marlena D. Lopez, Mirjam Knörnschild, Kyle Reid, Martina Nagy and Frieder Mayer


With their extraordinary species richness and diversity in ecological traits and social systems, bats are a promising taxon for testing socio-ecological hypotheses in order to get new insights into the evolution of animal social systems. Regarding its roosting habits, proboscis bats form an extreme by occupying sites which are usually completely exposed to daylight (e.g. tree trunks, vines or rocks). This is accompanied by morphological and behavioural adaptations to remain cryptic in exposed day roosts. With long-term behavioural observations and genetic parentage analyses of individually marked proboscis bats, we assessed its social dispersion and male mating strategy during day and night. Our results reveal nocturnal male territoriality—a strategy which most closely resembles a resource-defence polygyny that is frequent also in other tropical bats. Its contrasting clumped social dispersion during the day is likely to be the result of strong selection for crypsis in exposed roosts and is accompanied by direct female defence in addition to male territoriality. To the best of our knowledge, such contrasting male mating strategies within a single day–night cycle have not been described in a vertebrate species so far and illustrate a possible evolutionary trajectory from resource-defence to female-defence strategy by small ecologically driven evolutionary steps

Topics: Life sciences, medicine and health care
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.5061/dryad.df878
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