Date: December 14, 2016
While most long-fingered bats eat only insects, they may all be instinctively able to also catch fish, according to a study published December 14, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Ostaizka Aizpurua and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and the University of the Basque Country, Spain.
Many animals adapt their diets when their environment changes and new food sources become available. Long-fingered bats (Myotis capaccinii) are generally thought to consume only insects, but previous studies found some individuals that ate fish.
To investigate the origins of fishing behavior in long-fingered bats, Aizpurua and colleagues conducted a field study in the Valencia, Western Spain, comparing a community of long-fingered bats known to eat fish at a golf course pond near Dénia, with a community of strictly insectivorous bats at a stream pool near Ròtova. The researchers compared the bats' reactions to insect-like (stationary) and fish-like (moving) prey targets between the two communities.