Jeneni Thiagavel, Signe Brinkløv, Inga Geipel, and John M. Ratcliffe
Bats (order Chiroptera) exhibit wide-ranging differences in foraging ecology, morphology and behavior that often reflect the demands on their sensory systems. New World leaf-nosed bats (family Phyllostomidae) have a wide spectrum of feeding ecologies and sensory system specializations. The family consists of bats that are primarily nectarivorous (e.g., subfamily Glossophaginae), frugivorous (e.g., Stenodermatinae, Carolliinae), sanguivorous (Desmodontinae), and predatory (Phyllostominae). Phyllostomid brains typically have more balanced visual, olfactory, and auditory regions in relative size compared with other bat families. Within phyllostomid subfamilies, relative brain region volumes reflect feeding ecology and corresponding sensory specializations. For instance, phytophagous phyllostomids have larger visual and olfactory regions relative to predatory species, which in turn have larger auditory centers. This chapter uses this bat family to illustrate the influences that foraging ecology and diet selection have on the evolution of sensory systems and relative brain and brain region volumes. The diversity within this family makes it an excellent model group among bats - and mammals in general - from which to better understand sensory specializations, cognitive development, and brain evolution.