Mr Itani Victor Mutavhatsindi
(PhD Biological Sciences)
Animal Evolution and Systematics Group
John Day Zoology Building, Room 3.30
Tel: +27 21 650 4384
Cell: +27 76 889 2771
Research Interest (Evolution of Animals: Animal Behaviour, Ecology & Genetics)
Victor is currently conducting a PhD research in the Department of Biological Sciences under the supervision of A/Prof David Jacobs (SARCHI Research Chair in Animal Evolution & Systematics, UCT) and co-supervision of Dr Anna Bastian (Senior Lecturer, Sensory Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UKZN). He has obtained an MSc in Biological Sciences at UCT, and his thesis was focusing on the influence of foraging habitat on acoustic signal source levels in two bat species, Neoromicia capensis (Vespertilionidae) and Tadarida aegyptiaca (Molossidae). This study was conducted under guidance of A/Prof Jacobs and Dr Marc Holderied (Senior Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, University of Bristol). Prior to joining UCT he has worked on the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Foundation (DST-NRF) Internship Programme hosted by the Department of Entomology at Iziko Museums of South Africa, Cape Town.
His current research is specifically focusing on the role of factors responsible for dietary differences in animals. There is few studies that have investigated how diet of animals is affected by several factors such as their mode of prey detection, the habitat in which they hunt prey and also their own body size. The aim of this research is to test hypotheses such as the Prey Detection Hypotheses (PDH) and Foraging Habitat Hypotheses (FHH) using bats as study subjects particularly the endemic Cape Horseshoe Bat, Rhinolophus capensis. This study is being conducted across the distributional range of the target species at various localities in the Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. This study will enable the characterization of insect prey species in the diet of the target insectivorous bat species using both the traditional and molecular techniques. Some of this insects consumed by bats present a danger to humans such a spreading disease and competing for food, hence the need to document which insect species bat are feeding on.
Past research project: The influence of foraging habitat on acoustic signal source levels in two bat species, Neoromicia capensis (Vespertilionidae) and Tadarida aegyptiaca (Molossidae).
Thesis DOI/Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/28084
Current research project: Factors influencing the diet of an insectivorous bat species, the endemic Cape Horseshoe Bat, (Rhinolophidae: Rhinolophus capensis)