Bat of the Week: Antrozous pallidus

Common name: The Pallid bat

Photo Credit: Top: Merlin Tuttle, bottom left: American Natural History Museum, bottom center: adw.edu, bottom right: J. Scott Altenbach

Photo Credit: Top: Merlin Tuttle, bottom left: American Natural History Museum, bottom center: adw.edu, bottom right: J. Scott Altenbach

 

Where to find them: This widely distributed species, along the west coast of the North America, has a range from southern British Columbia through Montana to central Mexico.

Roosting: The pallid bat roosts in a variety of places but favors rocky outcrops.  They can be found roosting in anything from caves, rock crevices, mines, hollow trees, to buildings. At night they choose temporary roosts for resting between feeding bouts that are near, but different from, day roosts.

Diet:  A. pallidus is an insectivorous bat and has a unique foraging pattern among North American bats. They fly very close to the ground, then dip down to grab ground-dwelling prey. This bat has extremely good hearing  and the foraging strategy allows bats to use passive hearing to find prey moving on the ground. They may also make contact with the ground to grab larger prey. They also forage for insects among leaves and flowers. Additionally, they will take smaller prey in the air using echolocation. Pallid bats take larger prey back to their roosts and remove hard parts, such as wings, legs, and heads, from prey before consuming them.

Unique traits: Pallid bats use vocalizations to locate other members of their group. There are four main call types used to communicate with other individuals: a directive call  is used to find another individual, a call consisting of squabble notes tells bats how to space themselves when roosting, a buzz call used for intraspecific encounters, and ultrasonic  pulses for  orientation and communicating exploratory activity to other individuals. Another unique trait is how agile they are on the ground; they are good at crawling and climbing.

Recent research:  Barber tested if A. pallidus is able to process two different streams of auditory information simultaneously while hunting. This research shows that pallid bats behaviorally modulate their echolocation calls to be able to switch focus between two streams of auditory information, but cannot truly dually orient themselves via echolocation and listen to insect movement. (Barber et al., 2003)

Information from animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/

 

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