Journal of Mammalogy
We examine how litter mass in bats varies with respect to wing loading, an important aerodynamic aspect of flight. From geometric proportions, litter mass should scale to wing loading by an exponent of three. Conversely, analysis of aerodynamic consequences of carrying extra mass suggests that an exponent significantly less than three would be selectively advantageous. Our results show that Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera differ in the relationship between litter mass and wing loading. Litter mass in megachiropterans scales as expected by geometric proportions, whereas litter mass in microchiropterans, as a group, and for individual families, scales as expected if aerodynamic consequences of flight influence litter mass more than size constraints. Thus, selection pressures on reproductive traits appear to differ between the two suborders of bats.
allometry, Chiroptera, litter mass, reproductive strategy, wing loading
Hayssen, Virginia and Kunz, T. H., "Allometry of Litter Mass in Bats: Maternal Size, Wing Morphology, and Phylogeny" (1996). Biological Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.