Bat Eco-Interactions Database

The Data

The Database catalogs accounts of the interactions of bats with plants and arthropods worldwide published in peer-reviewed literature. For each interaction, we include family, genus, and species of each interactor (bat, plant, or arthropod), type of interaction (pollination, visitation, consumption, dispersal, or transport), details of the location (country, habitat type, elevation, GPS), and citation (see below Conceptual Data Map). The number of interactions in the database will continue to grow as we make every effort to keep this information up-to-date.


  • This database only contains accounts of bats interacting with plants or arthropods and not hypotheses that they might (e.g. a flower has chiropterophilous features).
  • The database reports interactions that have been published in peer-reviewed journals or theses/dissertations. It does not include unpublished data or personal observations that have not been published.
  • Reports have been categorized by interaction type and were not verified in the field.
  • In assigning interaction types, we do not assume that every visit to a flower results in pollination or that every fruit eaten results in seed dispersal (see list of interaction types for details). We do assume that every object that is “consumed” is destroyed in the process.
  • The database does not determine the “quality” of the service provided by bats. For example, it does not report how far bats are moving seeds, if the seeds are mature when dispersed, or if seeds are dropped at location suitable for germination.
  • It should not be assumed that a report of a bat pollinating a plant or dispersing a seed in one region of the world means that this bat (or another bat species) will pollinate/disperse this plant in another region.
  • Taxonomy: The scientific names of bats have been updated to the current standard following Simmons (2005) from Mammals of the World. Plant families have been assigned using www.tropicos.org and some antiquated plant genus/species names have been updated using www.tropicos.org. For both bats and plants, the name as originally published, if different from the current accepted name, is noted in the Comments field. Since plant taxonomy continues to change and we have not updated all genus/species names, we recommend that those searching for specific plants start at the family level and, when exporting data from www.batplant.org, correct for synonymy using www.tropicos.org before using the data in a report or publication. Arthropod names are reported following that found in the original publication. These names may or may not be the currently accepted names for the taxa.
  • There is no correlation between the number of times a unique interaction is reported in www.batplant.org and the strength of the interaction. For example, if Carollia perspicillata has been reported dispersing the seeds of Piper amalago in 10 publication, this does not mean that there is a stronger relationship between this bat and this plant than others, only that it has been witnessed and published more often.
  • We try to incorporate only publications that report their own data and, in the limited instances where the data were taken from other studies, we note that these interactions were reported from a “secondary” source (see Primary vs Secondary tag) so as not to overpopulate the database by repeating interactions that have already been reported by their primary source. If this is important to the user, we suggest checking the individual publications to determine if the data have been reported in other studies by the same authors.

How to Use

Users can browse, sort, and filter interaction data in multiple ways.

  • The Search page , available under the 'Database' menu tab, has been built to provide the most flexibility for filtering and sorting the interaction data. Search by the following attributes and more.
    • Taxa
    • Locations
    • Interaction Types
    • Habitat Types
  • Under 'Explore', also in the 'Database' menu, there are pages focusing on areas of the data that have yet to be integrated fully into the search page.
    • Citations
    • Interaction Types

Tips for Searching

There are tips for building creative searches and finding specific data available on the Search page.

How to Cite

If you use search results, or data, from this site in a publication, as part of any other printed media, or in online content, please cite them as follows:

Geiselman, Cullen K., Defex, Tuli. I. 2015. Bat Eco-Interactions Database. www.batplant.org, version (date accessed).

See our Terms of Use for more details.

How to Contribute

Bat Eco-Interactions heavily depends on user's participation, either by suggesting publications that have not been included on the database, and/or by entering new data (see below New Data Flow diagram). We invite you to click here to review the list of articles we hope to add to the database in the future. If you have suggestions for additional ones, please send the relevant information and a pdf of it to info@batplant.org.

New Data Entry

Registered users will be able to directly contribute bat interaction data that has not been included on the database and has been published in peer-reviewed literature. We encourage the inclusion of world-wide publications, regardless of their original language and publication source.

Once a new interaction has been submitted by a contributor, this data goes through a strict internal quality control process where selected experts evaluate for accuracy in data fields and formatting (see below New Data Flow diagram). We are committed to provide a scientifically and technically robust platform where rigorous processes are followed to guarantee a database with the highest quality standards for the long term.

Conceptual Map of Data New Data Workflow