, Volume 149, Issue 1, pp 133–140 | Cite as

Morphological assembly mechanisms in Neotropical bat assemblages and ensembles within a landscape

  • Claudia E. MorenoEmail author
  • Héctor T. Arita
  • Leonor Solis
Community Ecology


Empirical studies on bat assemblages have shown that richness is not appreciably influenced by local processes such as ecological interactions. However, most of these studies have been done in large areas that include high heterogeneity, and they analyse all bat species within such areas, and thus they may be not reflecting local but supra-community conditions. We followed an ecomorphological approach to assess how bat assemblages of species from the families Phyllostomidae and Mormoopidae, and ensembles of frugivorous bats, are assembled in local habitats within a single landscape. We measured the volume of the space defined by wing morphology and quantified the average distance between species within such a volume. Then, we related these measures to local richness. Such relationships were contrasted against relationships with random assemblages to test for statistical differences. At the ensemble level of organization, we found that the frugivorous bat morphological assembly mechanism is different from random patterns, and it corresponds to the volume-increasing model. On the other hand, bat assembly mechanisms may be ubiquitous at the assemblage level, because groups of species coexisting in a local habitat and delimited only by phylogeny include more than one ecological group with no potential to interact. Assembling processes are crucial to an understanding of species diversity in local communities, and ecomorphological analyses are very promising tools that may help in their study.


Chiroptera Community niche Coexistence Null models Packing 



We thank G. Halffter for his advice and encouragement during this study. Several colleagues helped in field work, and J. Tolome kindly assisted during the measurement of bat wing tracings with the leaf area meter. We also thank Gerardo Rodríguez for technical help. We specially thank Barry Fox, editors and one anonymous reviewer for the very thorough and thoughtful recommendations that greatly improved this paper. Logistic support was provided by the Instituto de Ecología, A. C. and by a scholarship from the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología granted to C. E. M. This research was made possible by the financial support of several sources, including the American Museum of Natural History through the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund, Idea Wild, IFS, SEP-CONACYT 2003-C02-44312.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia E. Moreno
    • 1
    Email author
  • Héctor T. Arita
    • 2
  • Leonor Solis
    • 2
  1. 1.Área Académica de Biología, Centro de Investigaciones BiológicasUniversidad Autónoma del Estado de HidalgoPachuca, HidalgoMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico, D. F.Mexico

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