Resource availability, population dynamics and diet of the nectar-feeding bat Leptonycteris curasoae in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico

M. Cristina Peñalba*, Francisco Molina-Freaner, Lizeth Larios Rodríguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Nectar-feeding bats play important roles in the pollination of columnar cacti. Migratory bats such as Leptonycteris curasoae are vulnerable to extinction due to their migratory behavior and cave-roosting habit. The conservation of migratory bats requires the identification and protection of key roosting sites and their floral resources. In this paper we describe the availability of resources, the population dynamics and the diet of L. curasoae in the Guaymas region, and its diet at three additional sites in coastal Sonora, Mexico. Our results indicate that L. curasoae is a seasonal resident in the Guaymas area, with local occupation of around 4 months. Seasonal occupation seems to be determined by the availability of flowers and fruits of columnar cacti as peak abundance and peak availability coincide in time. The analyses of fecal and fur samples revealed that columnar cacti constitute the major food source during their seasonal occupation of coastal Sonora. The frequency of pollen from Agave and Bombacaceae in fecal samples was generally low but increased in importance in lower latitudes. Our results suggest that the availability of resources provided by columnar cacti determine seasonal occupation of L. curasoae in Sonora. Given that we detected newborns in the studied colony, we suggest active cave protection for the conservation of the maternity roosting site in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3017-3034
Number of pages18
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Alfonso Valiente and Thomas R. Van Devender for critical comments on a previous draft, the Migratory Pollinators project (Turner Foundation and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum) for financial support, and José Martínez and Reyna Castillo for field assistance. Dave Dalton, Mark Dimmitt, and Gary Nabhan kindly provided fecal and head samples from El Pinacate. We thank Ted Fleming for ideas and suggesting the study of resource availability and the abundance of Leptonycteris in Guaymas.


  • Columnar cacti
  • Conservation
  • Leptonycteris curasoae
  • Nectar-feeding bats
  • Sonoran Desert


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