Social bats: the males' perspective

  title={Social bats: the males' perspective},
  author={Kamran Safi},
  • K. Safi
  • Published 16 December 2008
  • Biology
Abstract Almost all bat species worldwide are, despite pronounced differences in ecology and life history, social. This makes them ideal organisms for studying the diversity and evolution of sociality. However, almost all work has focused on maternity colonies and most studies have been done on temperate species. Although simple density-dependent factors such as thermoregulatory benefits to the offspring or limited availability of roost sites have been refuted as the main driving forces behind… 

Bats of a Gender Flock Together: Sexual Segregation in a Subtropical Bat

It is suggested that it is their different physiological and social needs, and not competition, that drives sexual segregation in this species.

Spatial Proximity between Newborns Influences the Development of Social Relationships in Bats

The phenomenon the authors describe may have significant implications for the development of bat social structures, including colony aggregation, within-colony cryptic subunits or preferred association of individuals in fission‐fusion dynamics.

Social Network Analysis and the Study of Sociality in Bats

A review of methodologies used to measure social interactions, relationships, and structure in bats and encourages further use of social network analysis as a framework for conceptualizing, designing, and analyzing studies of bat sociality.

Who swarms with whom? Group dynamics of Myotis bats during autumn swarming

Group dynamics of little brown and northern Myotis bats during autumn swarming are studied, finding no evidence to support the maternal guidance hypothesis predicting that there would be associations between mother–offspring pairs.

My home is your castle: roost making is sexually selected in the bat Lophostoma silvicolum

It is suggested that roosts in termite nests serve as an extended male phenotype and roost making is a sexually selected behavior in bats, and differences in costs and benefits for each group member must be carefully evaluated before drawing conclusions about social systems and mating strategies.

Sociality and insect abundance affect duration of nocturnal activity of male parti-colored bats

Confirming a role of social context for the activity of males helps identify behavioral patterns without the confounding effect of added energy expenditure due to breeding, as is the case for females.

Roosting and social ecology of the tricolored bat, Perimyotis subflavus, in Nova Scotia

To describe the basic social structure of tricolored bats, particularly females, in Nova Scotia, roosted exclusively in Usnea lichen, near water, with access to many potentially available roost sites in stands of mostly softwood trees.

Social networks of Rafinesque's big-eared bats (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) in bottomland hardwood forests

The findings suggest that social structure in colonies of Rafinesque's big-eared bats is affected by the sex of individuals in colonies, reproductive season, and the preponderance of available day-roosting habitat.

Host demographic predicts ectoparasite dynamics for a colonial host during pre-hibernation mating

The results suggest that host energetic constraints associated with future reproduction affect pre-hibernation parasite dynamics in bats and females in the best body condition had the highest parasite loads.



Comparative Analyses Suggest That Information Transfer Promoted Sociality in Male Bats in the Temperate Zone

The results suggest that the species most likely to benefit from information transfer—namely, those preying on ephemeral insects and with morphological adaptations to feeding in open habitat—are more likely to form male groups in bats.

Sexual segregation in ungulates: a comparative test of three hypotheses

  • K. RuckstuhlP. Neuhaus
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2002
Sexual differences in activity budgets are most likely driving sexual segregation and that sexual differences in predation risk or forage selection are additive factors.

Life history, ecology and longevity in bats

It is speculated that hibernation may provide a natural example of caloric restriction, which is known to increase longevity in other mammals, and the strong association between life span and both reproductive rate and hibernation suggests that bat longevity is strongly influenced by seasonal allocation of non‐renewable resources to reproduction.

Roosting together, foraging apart: information transfer about food is unlikely to explain sociality in female Bechstein's bats (Myotis bechsteinii)

Because females are very loyal to their individual foraging areas and these areas are typically substantial distances from each other, information transfer about feeding sites is unlikely to be the crucial factor promoting coloniality, other benefits of sociality like cooperative breeding may cause communal roosting.


It is concluded that a phylogenetic comparison of behavior of a wide range of ungulates and other mammals will be needed to solve the enigma of sexual segregation.

Mating patterns, relatedness and the basis of natal philopatry in the brown long‐eared bat, Plecotus auritus

The results of this study suggest that kin selection cannot account for colony stability and natal philopatry in P. auritus, which may instead be explained by advantages accrued through the use of familiar and successful roost sites, and through long‐term associations with conspecifics.

Sperm competition in bats

  • D. Hosken
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1997
A significant positive relationship between social group size and testis mass is found across 31 species of microchiropteran bat and comparative analysis of independent contrast (CAIC) finds it positively related to sperm competition risk in a wide range of taxa.

Social Organization of a Maternity Group in the Noctule Bat, Nyctalus noctula (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae)

Social organization of a captive group of noctule bats, N. noctula, was studied by frequent censuses of bats at roost sites during one summer season and it is suggested that emergence and persistence of nonrandom associations is mainly due to individual attainment of a certain level of comfort in company of familiar conspecifics whose behaviour is predictable, and thus reduction of aggression within a group.

Seeing in the dark: molecular approaches to the study of bat populations

Standardize and synthesise the current data, assess the contribution of molecular research to the study of bat species and highlight the importance of its continued and expanded use, and suggest not only a predictive framework for future studies, but also the use of genetic data in the management and conservation of Bat species.