A radio-tracking study of the foraging behaviour of the Jamaican fruit bat (Artibeus jamaicensis) in a Panamanian forest revealed that searching and feeding flights were timed as if to minimize flying in bright moonlight. On nights 1 week before and after the new moon, foraging activity was continuous from dark to dawn. In contrast, on nights 1 week before and after the full moon radio-tagged individuals interrupted their feeding activity to return to their day roosts for the 1 to 7 h of the night when the moon was highest, even on nights when the moon was obscured by heavy clouds. Long flights in search of new fruit trees were observed only during the new moon half of the lunar month. Lunar phobia may have both endogenous and exogenous components that evolved to reduce losses to visually orientated predators.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology