Bats in New Mexico

Southwestern Bat

SOUTHWESTERN BAT - Myotis auriculus

Weight: 5-8 grams.

Wingspan: : 26-28 centimeters.

Distribution: From Arizona and New Mexico to southern Mexico.

Ecology and Behavior: The Southwestern Bat often occurs in ponderosa pine forests, but also is present from mesquite and chaparral through the oak forests into the pinyon-juniper habitats, and seems to reach its greatest abundance in areas of extensive rocky cliffs where water is available. No day roosts are known, but night night roosts include buildings, mines, and caves. Migrations may result in selection of different habitats during different seasons. This species is most active from 1.5-2.0 hours after sunset, but also may show other peaks of activity during the night. Flight speed is about 13 kilometers per hour (8 miles per hour).

Food Habits: Moths are the primary food, and males may eat significantly more moths than females. This bat is known to capture insects, primarily moths with 3-4-centimeter (1-2-inch) wing spans, from the surfaces of buildings and tree trunks; it may land briefly on the substrate, then pick the insect off the surface.

Reproduction: One baby usually is born in June or early July, but timing of birth shows considerable geographic variation. Life span is at least 3 years.

Status of Populations: Common.

Thanks to T. L. Best, J. S. Altenbach, and M. J. Harvey for permission to reprint portions of Bats of the Western United States, 1998.

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