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Nectar feeding strategies of pteropodid bats on Parkia biglandulosa: the influence of angular variations in nectar rings



Nectar feeding strategies of pteropodid bats on Parkia biglandulosa: the influence of angular variations in nectar rings



Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy 73(3): 127-135



We studied the behaviour of two species of pteropodid bat feeding on nectar from Parkia biglandulosa under natural conditions, in urban and suburban areas. Small Cynopterus sphinx and large Pteropus giganteus visited spherical inflorescences of Parkia, known as capitula. Most portion of the sphere contained fertile flowers. Sterile flowers present in the proximal region of capitula, secreted nectar that was stored in a narrow and circular depression called a nectar ring. Capitula are borne at angles varied (from vertical axis) between 0-40 degrees. Distribution of nectar was uniform in horizontal rings, whereas it accumulated more at the lower part of tilted rings. While C. sphinx always directly landed on capitula, P. giganteus landed a short distance away and crawled towards them. We addressed how angular variation in nectar rings of capitula affect nectar feeding behaviour of the two bat species. The duration of feeding bouts and inter-visit intervals of C. sphinx decreased, and number of visits to capitula increased with an increase in the tilt of nectar rings. Whereas, tilt did not influence visits and duration of feeding bouts of P. giganteus. Thus, it appears that the angle of nectar rings and the resultant distribution of reward may have a significant influence on foraging behaviour and movements of small-bodied bats and possibly on the reproductive potential of paleotropical Parkia species.

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