Agave flower visitation by pallid bats, Antrozous pallidus, in the Big Bend region of Texas

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2019-08

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Abstract

Pallid bats, Antrozous pallidus, though primarily insectivorous gleaning predators, are known to consume nectar of the cardón cactus, Pachycereus pringlei, in the Sonoran Desert. It is unknown whether a similar nectar feeding behavior may be occurring in the Big Bend region of Texas, where several researchers have captured pallid bats covered in pollen. I collected pollen samples from 67 pallid bats in Brewster County, Texas between April and August 2018. Pollen-covered pallid bats were captured in every month sampled. The pollen collected in all samples was homogeneous and identified as Agave pollen. Two species of Agave occur in this region of Texas, Agave havardiana and Agave lechuguilla. A linear discriminant analysis classified 556 of 723 of the pollen grains analyzed as A. lechuguilla. Additional evidence from infrared video footage collected in August of 2018, indicates that pallid bats are becoming covered in A. lechuguilla pollen as a result of nectarivory.

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Keywords

Pallid bat, Antrozous pallidus, facultative nectarivory, Agave lechuguilla, Agave havardiana, Agave pollen

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