Bernal Rodriguez Hererra
PhD student UNAM, Mexico
Location: Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Research: Mating system and habitat selection of the White Tent Bat (Ectophylla alba) in Costa Rica
Species/Topic: White Tent Bat (Ectophylla alba)
Abstract: Ectophylla alba is a white bat whose biology is mostly unknown. Its restricted geographical distribution and its dependence on no more than a few species of plants to build its roosts have awarded this species with a special conservation status. My goals are: 1) to identify the specific habitat requirements necessary for the construction of its tent roost, 2) to document who is responsible for the construction of the tents and how this process takes place, 3) to determine if the males use the tent as a resource to attract females, and 4) to describe the reproductive behavior of the bats in the roost. My preliminary results show that the groups have a high stability in their composition throughout the year. Normally, there is more than one adult male present at each tent, even during the mating season. Several individuals within a group undertake the process of tent construction, in which females can also be involved. My recordings are the first ever achieved worldwide of the construction, costs and benefits of this system, as well as of some behaviors of males, females and young not yet documented in any other species of bat.