New review of bat cooperation

Most of the 1,300 species of bats live in groups. Indeed, some are quite social, with relationships that last for years. For the latest issue on the evolution of direct benefits cooperation in Philosophical Transactions BJerry Wilkinson was asked to write a review on cooperation in bats and he co-wrote the article (PDF) with Kisi Bohn, and Danielle Adams and me. We summarized evidence of cooperation among unrelated bats while they roost, forage, feed and care for their offspring. In particular, we highlight two species we have studied in detail: vampire bats and greater spear-nosed bats– cases which suggest that some bats cooperatively invest in non-kin bonds for long-term social benefits.

Besides reviewing previous published work, we used this review to put out some previously unpublished results on food sharing in vampire bats (the similarities between donation size in captive and wild bats) and more on social structure and evidence for ‘babysitting’ behavior in greater spear-nosed bats. We also make some neat predictions such as that heat generation in greater spear-nosed bats is under paternal genetic control due to patterns of genetic relatedness.

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The other review articles look really interesting!


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