Interacting elevational and latitudinal gradients determine bat diversity and distribution across the Neotropics

Juliano A. Bogoni, Vítor Carvalho-Rocha, Katia M. P. M. B. Ferraz, Carlos A. Peres

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


New World bats are heavily affected by the biophysical setting shaped by elevation and latitude. This study seeks to understand the patterns of bat species diversity across elevational, latitudinal and vegetation height gradients throughout the Neotropics. Systematically gathered putative and empirical data on bat species distribution across the entire Neotropics were examined using descriptive statistics, spatial interpolation of bat taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity, generalized linear models, generalized linear mixed models and phylogenetic generalized least squares. We uncoupled the effects of elevation, latitude and vegetation height to predict Neotropical bat diversity, showing that dietary level, home range and habitat breadth were the most important ecological traits determining coarse-scale bat distributions. Latitude was largely responsible for sorting the regional species pool, whereas elevation appears to apply an additional local filter to this regional pool wherever tropical mountains are present, thereby shaping the structure of montane assemblages. Bats provide multiple ecosystem services and our results can help pinpoint priority areas for bat research and conservation across all Neotropics, elucidate the thresholds of species distributions, and highlight bat diversity hotspots at multiple scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2729-2743
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Issue number12
Early online date23 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Chiroptera
  • continental scale
  • diversity patterns
  • mammals
  • species distribution
  • tropical forest

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