The highly diverse forest habitat in Borneo is an important factor that contributes to the rich faunas. These habitats support many species of animals including bat which is among the most highly diverse group of animals. Due to the constant climate and continuous rainfall throughout the year, the vegetations are always in productive condition and provide unlimited food sources for the animals. Different types of habitats provide different food availability and variety for the bats.
In this study, the five populations of H. cervinus can be distinguished by their dental length (DL) and ear length (EL). Dentition and dental play important role in the ecology and feeding behavior of bats. Phillips (2000) claimed that dentition and dental are still important to modern bat systematists. The dentition affects the selection of food items and diet preferences. Different diet will affects the growth rate and body size of the animals. Same species from different population might show variation in terms of their morphology. The dental features are very important when considering the food, in terms of hardness, softness and brittleness (Phillip, 2000).
Dietary preferences can lead to variations in dental morphology between different populations due to the adaption process. Tingga (2010) found that the lower jaw can be used to discriminate seven populations of A. aequalis in Sabah and Sarawak. A study conducted by Rahman and Abdullah (2010) on P. lucasi found that dental length is one of the characters that can be used to distinguish the female from three different populations.
Dental length affects the degree of mouth opening (gape angle). According to Dumont and Herrel (2003), gape angle and the location along the tooth row at which force is transferred (bite point) affects the bite force. Dumont and Herrel (2003) found that bite forces decrease as gape angle increase for both between species and within species, given the same bite point. This is possibly due architectural details of the skull such as muscle size muscle fiber orientation (Aguirre et al., 2002; Dumont and Herrel, 2003). Bite force may indicate the material properties of preys in insectivorous bats, from hard beetles to soft moths.
Among all the populations, the population from Bako and Niah had relatively smaller dental length (DL) compared to those from Kubah, Tubau and Poring. It seemed that these two populations consumed softer food items compare to the other three populations. Bite force is important factor in feeding behavior because it can affect feeding efficiency. Increase in bite force can reduce feeding time and enable bats to consume more prey within a period of time.
Ear size is associated with flight performance as bigger ear causes drag and reduce speed but also can act as canard structures to produce additional lift and control flight (Gardiner et al., 2011). A study conducted by Fenton and Bogdanowicz (2002) on bats in the genus Myotis found that they can be...