Attraction of the Fruit-Eating Bat Carollia perspicillata to Piper gaudichaudianum Essential Oil
We performed field tests using mimetic Piper fruits with and without essential oil extracted through hydrodistillation from Piper gaudichaudianum ripe fruits in order to evaluate the role of odor in Carollia perspicillata attraction and capture in mist-nets. During the field tests, 26 C. perspicillata were captured, 21 (80.7%) in nets with the essential oil of P. gaudichaudianum and five (19.3%) in nets without oil. Other bat species, Artibeus spp. (67), which is specialized on fruits of Moraceae, and Sturnira lilium (10), specialized on those of Solanaceae, were also captured, but they exhibited no significant preference for nets with or without oil. We conclude that odor is pre-eminent over visual cues in food location by C. perspicillata in a field situation. Based on the result, we propose the extraction and use of essential oils of chiropterochoric fruits as a useful approach to improve autoecological studies on fruit-eating bats and to promote tropical forest restoration through the attraction of frugivorous bats to degraded areas.
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