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Highly structured fissionefusion societies in an aerial-hawking, carnivorous bat

AutorPopa-Lisseanu, Ana G.; Bontadina, F.; Mora, O.; Ibáñez, Carlos
Palabras clavefission–fusion
giant noctule bat
Nyctalus lasiopterus
roosting behaviour
Fecha de publicaciónfeb-2008
CitaciónAnimal Behaviour, 75, 471e482 (2008)
ResumenIn some group-living animals, societies are far from being static but are instead dynamic entities encompassing multiple scales of organization. We found that maternity colonies of giant noctule bats, Nyctalus lasiopterus, form fission–fusion societies, where group composition in single tree roosts changes on a daily basis but social cohesion in the larger group is preserved. The population inside a small city park was comprised of three distinct but cryptic social groups coexisting in close proximity. Each social group used a distinct roosting area, but some overlap existed in the boundaries between them. Social groups were stable at least in the mid term because adult females were loyal to roosting areas and young females returned to their natal social groups in successive years. Our results suggest that distinct social groups with separate roosting areas may have existed for at least 14 years. The findings described support the hypothesis that roost-switching behaviour in forest bats permits the maintenance of social bonds between colony members and enhances knowledge about a colony's roosting resources. Fission–fusion societies in forest bats might have evolved as a mechanism to cope with changing conditions in the environment by restructuring subgroups or adjusting subgroup size, to maximize the amount of information that can be transferred between colony members, or as a consequence of territory inheritance by philopatric female offspring. Other factors such as resource competition or kin selection could limit the size and composition of fission–fusion societies and promote strong social structuring within populations.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.05.011
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