Phyllostomid Bats A Unique Mammalian RadiationWith more than two hundred species distributed from California through Texas and across most of mainland Mexico, Central and South America, and islands in the Caribbean Sea, the Phyllostomidae bat family (American leaf-nosed bats) is one of the world's most diverse mammalian families. From an insectivorous ancestor, species living today, over about 30 million years, have evolved a hyper-diverse range of diets, from blood or small vertebrates, to consuming nectar, pollen, and fruit. Phyllostomid plant-visiting species are responsible for pollinating more than five hundred species of neotropical shrubs, trees, vines, and epiphytes--many of which are economically and ecologically important--and they also disperse the seeds of at least another five hundred plant species. Fruit-eating and seed-dispersing members of this family thus play a crucial role in the regeneration of neotropical forests, and the fruit eaters are among the most abundant mammals in these habitats.
Coauthored by leading experts in the field and synthesizing the latest advances in molecular biology and ecological methods, Phyllostomid Bats is the first overview in more than forty years of the evolution of the many morphological, behavioral, physiological, and ecological adaptations in this family. Featuring abundant illustrations as well as details on the current conservation status of phyllostomid species, it is both a comprehensive reference for these ecologically vital creatures and a fascinating exploration of the evolutionary process of adaptive radiation. 512 pages, 9 color plates, 46 halftones, 23 line drawings, 33 tables | 8-1/2 x 11. 2011. Edited by Theodore H. Fleming, Liliana M. Davalos, and Marco A. R. Mello.