Incidence and taxonomic richness of mosquitoes in the diets of little brown and big brown bats
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Journal of Mammalogy
Bats have been portrayed as important consumers of mosquitoes, but evidence supporting this claim is surprisingly scant. We collected the fecal material of 2 common North American bats at 22 sites in Wisconsin, United States and screened samples for mosquitoes using a recently improved molecular method for detecting arthropod DNA. Overall, we detected 17 discrete operational taxonomic units assigned to the mosquito family (Diptera: Culicidae), 15 of which were assigned at the species level. We detected mosquitoes in 71.9% of samples and at all sampling sites for little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). By comparison, we detected mosquitoes in 33.3% of samples and one-half of the sampling sites for big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Our results suggest that the incidence and taxonomic richness of mosquito prey consumed by bats is considerably higher than has been previously shown. In light of globally declining bat populations, we propose that future studies reassess the importance of trophic interactions between bats and mosquitoes.
Keywordsbat diet citizen science Culicidae DNA barcoding Eptesicus fuscus Myotis lucifugus next-generation sequencing
Wray, Amy K; Jusino, Michelle A; Banik, Mark T; Palmer, Jonathan M; Kaarakka, Heather; White, J Paul; Lindner, Daniel L; Gratton, Claudio; Peery, M Zachariah. 2018. Incidence and taxonomic richness of mosquitoes in the diets of little brown and big brown bats. Journal of Mammalogy. 71: 8966-. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyy044.