Ariovaldo P. Cruz-Neto and L. Gerardo Herrera M.
Dietary diversification is one of the main drivers of physiological diversification in Phyllostomidae. We analyzed the extent to which dietary diversification in phyllostomids is paralleled by diversification in whole-organism physiological traits that are essential to understanding how they interact with their environment. We focused our analysis on the interplay between diet and digestive, excretory, and metabolic physiology. We used a strict phylogenetic approach to test the relationship of these traits with diet when sufficient information for phyllostomids representative of different feeding habits was available: activity of intestinal enzymes, kidney morphology, urine concentration, and basal metabolic rate. For traits for which data are scarce or restricted to some trophic guilds, we reviewed the information available in the literature. Our analysis reveals that certain physiological traits appear to be associated with diet in an evolutionary and ecological context. Other traits seem not to be related to diet. Besides the difficulties associated with diet quantification, one potential problem with comparative analyses of the association between diet and physiological traits in phyllostomids is the paucity of data for animalivores. Future comparative work should include under-represented dietary habits and consider the use of methodological approaches currently used in the study of other vertebrates.