Document Detail

Ethanol concentration in food and body condition affect foraging behavior in Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18320157     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Ethanol occurs in fleshy fruit as a result of sugar fermentation by both microorganisms and the plant itself; its concentration [EtOH] increases as fruit ripens. At low concentrations, ethanol is a nutrient, whereas at high concentrations, it is toxic. We hypothesized that the effects of ethanol on the foraging behavior of frugivorous vertebrates depend on its concentration in food and the body condition of the forager. We predicted that ethanol stimulates food consumption when its concentration is similar to that found in ripe fruit, whereas [EtOH] below or above that of ripe fruit has either no effect, or else deters foragers, respectively. Moreover, we expected that the amount of food ingested on a particular day of feeding influences the toxic effects of ethanol on a forager, and consequently shapes its feeding decisions on the following day. We therefore predicted that for a food-restricted forager, ethanol-rich food is of lower value than ethanol-free food. We used Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) as a model to test our hypotheses, and found that ethanol did not increase the value of food for the bats. High [EtOH] reduced the value of food for well-fed bats. However, for food-restricted bats, there was no difference between the value of ethanol-rich and ethanol-free food. Thus, microorganisms, via their production of ethanol, may affect the patterns of feeding of seed-dispersing frugivores. However, these patterns could be modified by the body condition of the animals because they might trade-off the costs of intoxication against the value of nutrients acquired.
Francisco Sánchez; Carmi Korine; Burt P Kotler; Berry Pinshow
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2008-03-05
Journal Detail:
Title:  Die Naturwissenschaften     Volume:  95     ISSN:  0028-1042     ISO Abbreviation:  Naturwissenschaften     Publication Date:  2008 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-05-16     Completed Date:  2008-09-30     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0400767     Medline TA:  Naturwissenschaften     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  561-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Feed / analysis*
Body Weight
Chiroptera / physiology*
Energy Metabolism / drug effects
Ethanol / analysis*,  pharmacology
Feeding Behavior / drug effects,  physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:

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