Bat Guts Become Less Healthy From Diet of “Fast Food” From Banana Plantations

Pallas’s long-tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina), feeding on nectar from banana trees in Costa Rica. Credit: Julian Schneider

Banana plantations are a reliable food source for nectar-feeding bats, but their effect on the bat’s gut microbiota is akin to that of a fast food diet on the human gut.

Nectar-feeding bats foraging in intensively managed banana plantations in Costa Rica have a less diverse set of gut microbes in comparison to bats feeding in their natural forest habitat or organic plantations, reveals new research published today in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. This is the first study to show an association between habitat alteration, sustainable agriculture, and the gut microbiota of wildlife.

“Organic and conventional monoculture banana plantations both provide…

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