Abstract

Bats (Chiroptera: Mammalia) from Yurubí National Park, Venezuela: taxonomic list and community study. Bats represent a key component in the dynamics of many terrestrial ecosystems, and one of the groups of mammals with the highest levels of diversification in the Neotropics. Here we describe the results of a study of the bat fauna from Yurubí National Park (mountain area in Northern Venezuela), that includes a taxonomic list and the characterization of some community attributes in forested areas. Data was collected from zoological collections and diversified sampling methods from February to July of 2009 in an altitudinal gradient (100-1 500m), with three principal ecological units: semideciduous, evergreen and cloud forests. We recorded 64 species grouped in five families (63% of the bats known from La Cordillera de la Costa), of which Phyllostomidae was the dominant taxa (42 species; 66% of total), followed by Vespertilionidae, Molossidae, Emballonuridae and Mormoopidae. The community with the highest taxonomic diversification was found in the lowest elevation range, while the lowest number of species was found at the highest range. Eleven trophic guilds were identified; the insectivorous guild was the richest, whereas the frugivorous was the most abundant. Our results allow us to indicate these forest ecosystems have an appropriate conservation status, taking into account the presence of a relatively high proportion of species from the subfamily Phyllostominae, as well as the presence of other species with conservation priorities. All these aspects, and the fact that this represents a reservoir of the biological diversity of the forest ecosystems of La Cordillera de la Costa, make this protected area of an essential conservation value, in a highly endangered bioregion by neighboring socio-economic growth.
Keywords: Chiroptera, communities, elevation, mammals, Yurubí National Park, Yaracuy, Venezuela.