Document Detail

Efficiency of facultative frugivory in the nectar-feeding bat Glossophaga commissarisi: the quality of fruits as an alternative food source.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18594836     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The efficiency of food exploitation correlates positively with the extent of dietary specialization. Neotropical nectar-feeding bats (Glossophaginae) have one of the most specialized diets among mammals, as floral nectar constitutes a sugar-rich and highly digestible but protein and fiber depleted food source. However, dietary constraints, such as a temporary scarcity of nectar, or protein demands may sometimes require the uptake of alternative food items. We investigated the influence of a diet switch from nectar to fruit on intestinal morphology, body mass, and energy budget in the nectar-feeding bat Glossophaga commissarisi and quantified feeding efficiency. We hypothesized that these nectar specialists depend on a constant supply of nectar, if they were lacking the ability for morphological and physiological plasticity in response to a fiber-rich diet. Although capable of harvesting infructescences of Piper hispidum, G. commissarisi was less efficient in extracting energy from fruits (48% digestive efficiency of total fruit energy content) than from nectar (c. 99% digestive efficiency). The intestinal morphology and organ masses did not change after bats were switched from nectar to fruits. Captive bats exhibited lower daily energy expenditures and flight activity when feeding on fruits than during nectarivory. Possibly, this may have been a deliberate regulation to balance reduced feeding efficiency, or simply the consequence of extended digestive pauses. The low digestibility of Piper, in combination with slow digestion and the bats' inability for morphological and physiological plasticity may cause nectar-feeders to reduce their maximum energy expenditure when feeding on fruits. We argue that although fruits may substitute for nectar, they may cause restricted maximum energy assimilation compared with nectar.
Detlev H Kelm; Juliane Schaer; Sylvia Ortmann; Gudrun Wibbelt; John R Speakman; Christian C Voigt
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2008-07-02
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology     Volume:  178     ISSN:  0174-1578     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Comp. Physiol. B, Biochem. Syst. Environ. Physiol.     Publication Date:  2008 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-10-27     Completed Date:  2009-01-09     Revised Date:  2009-06-08    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8413200     Medline TA:  J Comp Physiol B     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  985-96     Citation Subset:  IM    
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, PF 601103, 10252 Berlin, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
Chiroptera / anatomy & histology,  metabolism*
Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
Dietary Fiber / metabolism
Dietary Proteins / metabolism
Energy Intake
Energy Metabolism
Feeding Behavior*
Food Preferences
Intestines / anatomy & histology,  metabolism*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Dietary Carbohydrates; 0/Dietary Proteins

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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