Maybe it seems obvious with those big ears, but bats have a very wide hearing range (~2-110 kHz), which is well beyond the typical range of humans, maxing out around 20 kHz. Check out the image to see how that compares to your feline and canine friends.
Where are all the bats?! Check out this site that maps the world’s biodiversity: http://biodiversitymapping.org/index.htm
Merlin left this morning for Costa Rica where he hopes to photograph a northern ghost bat (Diclidurus albus) roosting beneath a palm frond. Researchers rarely have been able to capture these bats, and until recently no one even knew where they lived. More than 45 years ago, while leading a Smithsonian expedition on Venezuela’s Rio Mavaca, Merlin discovered that these bats are relatively abundant. He spotted them feeding high above ground where they were nearly impossible to capture, though he did get a portrait of one. Recently, a few extra sharp-eyed biologists have spotted individuals roosting high up beneath palm fronds where they are extremely difficult to see. Their snow white bodies blend perfectly with the bright rays of sun shining through the fronds. Merlin’s friend, Carlos Roberto Chavarria, has spotted one and hopes to help photograph it. I had a prior commitment and couldn’t go on this trip, but Merlin will be assisted by our Austin friend, Steve Swanson. We hope, later this week, to show this uniquely camouflaged bat. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it won’t move before can be photographed.
A new study in Bioscience (Hayes, 2013) estimated that wind turbines in the United States killed over 600,000 bats in 2012. While, we at the Bat Center support renewable energy, we also promote conservation through living simply and reducing our overall energy consumption.
Canadian biologists are looking to their federal government for greater protection of bats affected by white-nose syndrome. An endangered wildlife committee has recommended that little brown bats, northern long-eared bats, and tri-colored bats be listed as federally endangered in Canada.
A novel bird hide will also give sanctuary to bats. In particular, the nature reserve managers hope that Nathusius’ pipistrelle, a rare bat threatened by habitat loss, will use the roost in summer. The hide includes insulated boxes that could house other bat species in winter.
Bat Center graduate student Scott Bergeson and undergraduate James Cox have been conducting research on a roost of big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) located on the campus of Saint Mary’s-of-the-Woods College this fall. They are attempting to determine the effectiveness of a new type of temperature sensitive radio transmitter in bat research. To do this, they are harmlessly pasting two different types of radio transmitters to the backs of bats and tracking them back to their roost. While the bats are in their roost, Scott and James are able to record the body temperatures of the bats and the air temperatures that surround them. By comparing the temperatures recorded by these two different types of transmitters, Scott and James will be able to determine just how effective the type of transmitter is.
Another citizen science opportunity! If you live in Alaska or know someone who does, please point them to this page. Bats are rare in Alaska and there are few data on their distribution. For that reason, Alaska wants to know about ANY bat observations in their gigantic state. Get a reporting form and get to it!