Flycatching is relatively uncommon in insectivorous bats, yet members of the family Rhinolophidae constitute over one-half of the documented flycatching species. The Formosan woolly horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus formosae, is among the largest in size and relies primarily on flycatching for foraging. We assessed perch use of flycatching R. formosae in relation to vegetation structure in tropical monsoon forests in southern Taiwan. We located bats using acoustic detectors in forest interior and edge-open forest sites, and measured perch features, dispersion of the nearest trees, and vegetation structure within a 5-m radius of each perch. The same measurements were applied to randomly selected perches in both habitats where bats were not detected. We found no seasonal effects or differences between used and random perches in perch features, dispersion of neighboring trees, or vegetation structure surrounding the perches. Perches used at edge-open forest sites were farther from the perch tree trunk and neighboring trees, and surrounded by larger trees than in forest interiors. In contrast, perches in forest interiors were surrounded by higher shrub and reef layers and greater canopy, shrub, and reef layer cover, than those at edge-open forests. Overall, perches in forest interiors were in more cluttered settings, containing higher vegetation obstacles than edge-open habitats. In both habitats, vegetation obstacles generally increased in a curvilinear manner when moving horizontally and downward from the perch. However, in forest interiors perches used by bats had significantly lower vegetation obstacles horizontally and downwardly and were less cluttered than randomly selected perches. Overall, our results indicate that R. formosae in forest interiors selectively used perches associated with more open space that allows for more maneuverable sally flights and a longer detection range suitable for its exceptionally low constant frequency calls to explore less cluttered environments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation