Bats

Myotis Roost Use Is Influenced by Seasonal Thermal Needs

Rensel, L., Hodges, K. & Lausen, C.


Abstract

Reproductive bats switch frequently among roosts to select the most advantageous microclimates and avoid predation or parasitism. Many bats use human-made structures, such as bat boxes and buildings, in areas where natural structures are less abundant. Artificial structures, which may be warmer and larger than natural structures, may affect bat behavior and roost use. We studied Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis) and Little Brown Myotis (M. lucifugus) in artificial structures at two sites to understand how roost conditions and reproductive pressures influenced roost switching in maternity colonies in the lower mainland of British Columbia, Canada. During summer 2019, we used Passive Integrated Technology (PIT tags and scanners) to track daily roosting locations of individuals. Yuma myotis and little brown myotis used at least five roosts at each site and switched almost daily among roosts. Bats were less likely to switch from roosts that were 25–42°C and switch roosts during lactation, particularly when the young were nonvolant. Our findings suggest that reproductive female myotis that use artificial roosts seek out warm roosts to limit energy expenditure and speed up offspring development. We also found that bats boxes were not thermally stable environments and the behavior of bats reflected temperature variability. Land managers should ensure that multiple nearby roosts are available to maternity colonies, as reproductive bats require a range of temperatures and roost types during summer.

Recommended citation

Rensel, L., Hodges, K. & Lausen, C. (2023). Myotis Roost Use Is Influenced by Seasonal Thermal Needs. Journal of Mammalogy. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyad031

Cori Lausen

Cori Lausen

Director of Bat Conservation

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