Responses of phyllostomid bats to forest cover in upland landscapes in Chiapas, southeast Mexico
Forests are a key habitat for bats, but tend to be lost and fragmented in some agri-environment schemes. We studied the effects of forest cover change on phyllostomid bats in agricultural landscapes with increment of open areas in an upland region in Chiapas, southeast Mexico. We tested whether with forest cover increase there is a directly proportional response on assemblage species diversity measures, on the capture success and body condition of particular ensembles. Depending on the spatial analysis window, and presumably on vagility, we found positive and significant associations with the sanguivore ensemble’s capture success, as well as with the nectarivore and shrub frugivore ensembles’ body condition. We support the idea that appropriate amounts of forest over small geographic extents may propitiate favorable environments for some phyllostomids, which can also provide important ecological services. Furthermore, the arrangement of ecologically similar species proved to be valuable for exploring adaptive traits, and adequate for conservation strategies of species-rich taxa.