Bats play an important ecological role as seed dispersers in the New World tropics, a region with exceptional and unique diversity of plants and bats. This book provides a comprehensive treatment of all known bat-dispersed plants in the New World tropics and covers a total of 549 species in 191 genera from 62 plant families. This volume places a special emphasis on the flowering plants and bat fauna of the relatively undisturbed forests of central French Guiana.
In particular, detailed descriptions of 112 bat-dispersed species from that area are beautifully complemented by color photographs that will help other researchers identify fruits and seeds throughout the Neotropics. Going beyond merely describing these species, the authors compare and analyze the diverse traits of plants dispersed by bats to reexamine bat preferences of some fruiting plants over the others, a phenomenon known as the "bat-fruit syndrome". The seed dispersers too are given ample treatment here with descriptions of the foraging ecology and feeding behaviors of the thirty-seven fruit-eating bats found in central French Guiana.
The monograph includes complementing appendices that allow the reader to determine all bat species reported to feed on the fruits of a particular plant and all fruiting plants in the diet of a particular bat species. This book summarizes decades of research on bat-plant interactions from many parts of the Neotropics providing a stimulus for further ecological and evolutionary studies. It will serve as a reference for anyone interested in conservation, systematics, and plant-animal interactions in tropical forests.