Kinship, parentage and temporal stability in nursery colonies of Leisler’s bat (Nyctalus leisleri)

Emma S. M. Boston, Stephane G. Roue, W. I. Montgomery, Paulo A. Prodöhl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Levels of genetic relatedness within bat colonies are often unknown, and consequently the reasons for group formation and social organization are unclear. The Leisler's bat (Nyctalus leisleri), like most temperate bat species, forms nursery colonies in summer. We used microsatellite markers to examine identity and to attempt to estimate relatedness among females within a nursery colony, over 2 consecutive years, to ascertain whether females show kinship and natal philopatry, testing the hypothesis that this is the basis of colony formation. Parentage and relatedness of young born within a colony was assessed to investigate mating patterns via male reproductive skew and whether males achieve mating success within their natal colony. While there was evidence for female philopatry, levels of genetic relatedness within colonies were low. This suggests that kinship is not a major determinant in group formation, as roosts also comprise a large number of distant relatives or non-kin. Roost switching and gene flow are likely to be high. Both sexes reproduced in their first year, whereas males appear to be the more dispersive sex. We argue that the physical environment as well as information sharing provided by communal roosting are likely to be important factors for the formation of these large natal colonies in N. leisleri and possibly other lineages of bats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1021
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 04 May 2012

Keywords

  • VAMPIRE BAT
  • Chiroptera
  • kinship
  • natal philopatry
  • Nyctalus leisleri
  • parentage assignment
  • EFFECTIVE POPULATION-SIZE
  • NATURAL-POPULATIONS
  • SPERM COMPETITION
  • EARED BAT
  • PATERNITY
  • RELATEDNESS
  • MYOTIS
  • BEHAVIOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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