Bats of a Gender Flock Together: Sexual Segregation in a Subtropical Bat

Levin, Eran; Roll, Uri; Dolev, Amit; Yom-Tov, Yoram; Kronfeld-Shcor, Noga
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Competition has long been assumed to be a major driver in regulating ecological communities. Intra-specific competition is considered to be maximal as members of the same species use the same ecological niches in a similar way. Many species of animals exhibit great physiological, behavioral, and morphological differences between sexes (sexual dimorphism). Here we report an extreme geographical segregation between the sexes in the greater mouse-tailed bat (Rhinopoma microphyllum). To gain insight into the driving mechanisms of sexual segregation outside the mating season, we collected and integrated environmental, behavioral, physiological, and spatial information. We found that both sexes choose roosts with similar characteristics and the same food type, but use different habitats for different durations. Males forage around cliffs at higher and cooler elevations while females forage in lowlands around a river delta. We suggest that it is their different physiological and social needs, and not competition, that drives sexual segregation in this species.


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