Data from: Table for five, please: dietary partitioning in boreal bats
Cite this dataset
Vesterinen, Eero J.; Puisto, Anna I. E.; Blomberg, Anna S.; Lilley, Thomas M. (2019). Data from: Table for five, please: dietary partitioning in boreal bats [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6880rf1
Differences in diet can explain resource partitioning in apparently similar, sympatric species. Here, we analyzed 1,252 fecal droppings from five species (Eptesicus nilssonii, Myotis brandtii, M. daubentonii, M. mystacinus, and Plecotus auritus) to reveal their dietary niches using fecal DNA metabarcoding. We identified nearly 550 prey species in 13 arthropod orders. Two main orders (Diptera and Lepidoptera) formed the majority of the diet for all species, constituting roughly 80%–90% of the diet. All five species had different dietary assemblages. We also found significant differences in the size of prey species between the bat species. Our results on diet composition remain mostly unchanged when using either read counts as a proxy for quantitative diet or presence–absence data, indicating a strong biological pattern. We conclude that although bats share major components in their ecology (nocturnal life style, insectivory, and echolocation), species differ in feeding behavior, suggesting bats may have distinctive evolutionary strategies. Diet analysis helps illuminate life history traits of various species, adding to sparse ecological knowledge, which can be utilized in conservation planning.