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Data from: Primary productivity explains size variation across the Pallid bat’s (Antrozous pallidus) western geographic range

Cite this dataset

Kelly, Rochelle M.; Friedman, Rachel; Santana, Sharlene E. (2019). Data from: Primary productivity explains size variation across the Pallid bat’s (Antrozous pallidus) western geographic range [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Body size is associated with many aspects of the life history, ecology, and physiology of animals. Within a species, body size can vary substantially across space and time, and the mechanisms generating these patterns have been the focus of evolutionary and ecology research. 2. Bergmann’s Rule predicts a negative relationship between body size and temperature across the geographic range of endothermic animals; larger animals have a lower surface to volume ratio, which would allow for greater heat conservation. Despite the broad support for this pattern, its underlying mechanisms are heavily debated. Numerous alternative explanations have been proposed to explain why larger animals are found in colder climates, and vice versa, including heat dissipation, environmental seasonality, and resource availability. 3. We used the Pallid bat, Antrozous pallidus, as a model to evaluate Bergmannian size patterns and the relative support for major explanatory hypotheses of geographic body size variation. We tested the hypothesis that geographic size variation is predicted by productivity, as opposed to seasonality, heat conservation or dissipation, or some combination of these processes. Additionally, we investigated the potential ecomorphological consequences of size variation in Pallid bats by determining if skull shape (an indicator of bite performance) varies with size. 4. Whereas we did find that Pallid bat populations in northern latitudes are composed of larger individuals, our results suggest that net primary productivity and, to a lesser extent heat conservation, best explains size variation throughout the western range of this species. We also found that skull shape in Pallid bats changes in tandem with skull size, with larger bats having cranial traits associated with greater bite force production. 5. The results of our study indicate that variation in resource availability may be a key factor underlying spatial patterns in size, morphology and, possibly, feeding performance within wide-ranging bat species.

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North America