Research ArticleBEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY

Nectar uptake in bats using a pumping-tongue mechanism

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Science Advances  25 Sep 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 8, e1500525
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500525
  • Fig. 1 Tongue movement.

    (Left) Extended tongues of drinking: (top) G. soricina (Glossophaginae) and (bottom) L. robusta (Lonchophyllinae). Although the tongue of G. soricina is covered by long filiform papillae, the tongue of L. robusta shows a distinct lateral canal. (Right) Movement patterns of the tongue tips of G. soricina (A) and L. robusta (B) drinking at a feeder offering honey water at 20 mm below the opening. The tongue of L. robusta submerges in the fluid at the beginning of the visit and stays there with only small movements, whereas the tongue of G. soricina extends and retracts repeatedly in stereotypic lapping movements. Interruptions of Glossophaga curves near the upper rim of the feeder represent the total retraction of the tongue into the mouth. (Left, center) Phylogenetic relations between the two groups [modified from (14, 27)] (figs. S1 and S2 and videos S1 to S4).

  • Fig. 2 Feeding behavior.

    (A) The amount of nectar extracted after each visit decreases steadily toward deeper levels. (B) Hovering duration in G. soricina and L. robusta increases when bats have to reach deeper into the feeder. The final decline occurs when bats abort their visit upon reaching the limit of their tongue extension capability. (C) Standardized extraction efficiency in both species decreases at a very similar slope. All figures are presented as mean ±1 SE. (D) L. robusta visiting a bromeliad flower (Werauhia sp.). Photo was taken at the Bocas del Toro Field Station of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on March 2009.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/1/8/e1500525/DC1

    Fig. S1. Cross section showing the size and extension of lateral grooves in the tongue of L. robusta.

    Fig. S2. Tongue of a drinking L. robusta showing the row of triangular papillae covering the entrance to the lateral canal.

    Video S1. Nectar-lapping G. soricina (detail).

    Video S2. Feeding L. robusta (overview).

    Video S3. Tongue of L. robusta (detail, lateral view).

    Video S4. Tongue of L. robusta at near-maximum extension (detail, lateral view).

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Fig. S1. Cross section showing the size and extension of lateral grooves in the tongue of L. robusta.
    • Fig. S2. Tongue of a drinking L. robusta showing the row of triangular papillae covering the entrance to the lateral canal.
    • Legends for videos S1 to S4

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    Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

    • Video S1 (.mov format). Nectar-lapping G. soricina (detail).
    • Video S2 (.mov format). Feeding L. robusta (overview).
    • Video S3 (.mov format). Tongue of L. robusta (detail, lateral view).
    • Video S4 (.mov format). Tongue of L. robusta at near-maximum extension (detail, lateral view).

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