Conservation Biology of Nectar-Feeding Bats in Mexico
Héctor T. Arita
Nectar-feeding bats (tribe Glossophagini) are an important component of the rich chiropteran fauna of Mexico. Because of biological features associated with their specialized diet, nectar-feeding bats might be more vulnerable to extinction than other bats. Twelve species of glossophagines occur in Mexico. Most have restricted distributions, with two species endemic to the country and two species endemic to Middle America. Compared with other neotropical bats, nectar-feeding species are smaller in body mass and have smaller distributions but have similar local densities. In Mexico, most nectar-feeding bats are associated with tropical and subtropical dry areas (tropical deciduous forests and scrubland). Highest species richness occurs along the warm and dry Pacific versant, including the Balsas Basin. Caves are the main roosts of four of the Mexican nectar-feeding bats, and another six species use caves as alternate roosts. Critical faunas analyses performed using three criteria (species richness, presence of rare species, and phylogenetic value) indicated different sets of critical areas for conservation, nonetheless all criteria identified an area of the Pacific versant and lowlands of southeastern Mexico as priority areas for conservation efforts.