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2003 | 48 | 4 |
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Diet and prey selection in Kuhl's pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii [Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae] in South-Western Europe

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The trophic ecology of Kuhl's pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii (Kuhl, 1817) was in­vestigated monthly from May to October 1999. Nine insect and two arachnid orders were identified in faeces and classified in 24 different categories. The most frequently occurring prey categories were Culicidae, Lepidoptera, Chironomidae/Ceratopogonidae, Hymenoptera, unidentified Brachycera, Tipulidae and unidentified Coleoptera in de­creasing order. Other categories exhibited seasonal importance, such as the coleopteran Rhizotrogus sp. Prey availability was evaluated monthly using Malaise traps in known feeding areas. Bats preyed selectively through a temporarily changing pattern. Some taxa constituted an important part of the diet and were positively selected either monthly or in most of the months. Many of them were the largest prey featuring in the diet and changes of their relative profitability across time would determine their selec­tion index. The small size of some prey categories as well as P.kuhlii's morphofunctional constraints relative to flight and echolocation could explain their underexploitation or rejection. Our results suggest that P. kuhlii could be regarded as a 'selective op­portunist' species.
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