Neotropical tent roosting bats are in the family Phyllostomidae, in which Artibeus watsoni uses the greatest diversity of plants as a roost. Currently, eight styles of tents are known, and their descriptions are based on leaf size, shape, and the number of cuts needed to create it. Here, we describe the preference for the construction, tent design, and occupation of palmate umbrella tents that A. watsoni built in two sympatric Carludovica species in a Costa Rican tropical rainforest. We predicted a preference by A. watsoni to build tents between the sympatric Carludovica species due to leaf differences or other variables of selection. We also explored the spatial distribution of multiple tent designs. Ten rectangular plots (500 × 20 m) were established, and we counted the number of plants, leaves, and tents of each plant species, as well as to explored the spatial distribution of the tent designs. We found a total of 1787 plants (9222 leaves) of C. drudei and 640 plants (3732 leaves) of C. rotundifolia. The proportion of tents per leaf in each plant species was significantly higher in C. drudei than in C. rotundifolia, and those differences were significant (Z = -2.83, d.f. = 4, P < 0.01). We described six tent designs for the umbrella architecture (semicircle, combined, heart, triangle, spatula, and partial). The abundance of these designs varied significantly between the Carludovica species. Our results suggest that A. watsoni exhibits a preference among sympatric plants of the same genus. However, this is a complex and dynamic process that depends on multiple variables. This is the first study systematically describing the tent designs that A. watsoni creates within the palmate umbrella tents. These findings contribute to the knowledge of tent roosting bats in the Neotropics and provide more insight into the complexity of their behavior.
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Vol. 23 • No. 1