As we approach the end of 2015, you may be thinking about ways to contribute to bat conservation. I personally believe that education is critical to environmental awareness and conservation, so the Bat Center spends a significant amount of time conducting programs where we work (we talked to more than 3000 people in 2015). While we rarely ask for donations, your support is actually critical to the longevity of the ISU Bat Center! We depend ENTIRELY on grant funding (for staff salaries, travel, and supplies) and my students and I volunteer our personal time for most of our outreach events. If you’d like to contribute to support the Bat Center’s outreach, including our 10th Annual Indiana Bat Festival in Sept 2016 (free!), please follow the instructions on this page. It will take no more than 5 minutes for you to make a donation. We appreciate every dollar donated and promise to use your funds wisely to pay for supplies for kids’ activities, speaker fees for the Bat Festival, and staff salaries.
Director, Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation
Some fascinating new information on the taxonomic relationships of bats in the genus Lasiurus, the hairy tailed vespertilionid bats. Amy Baird and others have determined that yellow bats merit their own genus, Dasypterus. Red bats maintain claims on the Lasiurus genus. While hoary bats are still considered a sister taxon to Lasiurus, the authors found they should be in a new genus–Aeorestes. And that’s not all! Work by Russell et al. (PLoS One, 2015) had previously demonstrated that hoary bats invaded Hawaii multiple times. Baird and other show that there are two extant Aeorestes species in Hawaii. You can find Baird’s paper in the latest Journal of Mammalogy issue.
To compare the bats in these three genera, check out the Lasiurus photo gallery on Michael Durham’s page.
Male eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis), Photographed near the Conasauga River in the Chattahoochee-Oconee Natonal Forest, Georgia. By Michael Durham.
Bats are an excellent topic of conversation, anytime! We suggest you share these facts with your friends and family over your holiday dinner. Where will the conversation go from here?!
- There are over 1300 species of bats in the world, which is one-fifth of all mammal species.
- Fourteen species of bats have been found in Indiana; two may have been extirpated. Take a guess at the number in your area using the Chiroptera map from Biodiversity Global.
- Bats are the only mammals capable of true powered flight.
- In a single night, a bat can eat up to 100% of its body weight in insects, including many agricultural and human pests.
- Bats pollinate at least 528 different species of plants, including agave, which is the primary ingredient in tequila.
- Only 3 species of bats eat blood. Vampire bats are found from Mexico to South America. They take blood meals from birds and large mammals, like cattle.
- Most bat species can live to be 10-30 years old. A bat in Russia was documented at more than 40 years old! Most female bats have only 1 pup per year, which is very different from other small mammals.
- Fewer than 1% of bats carry rabies.
- Not all bats echolocate—Old World fruit bats lack the ability to use true echolocation, though some fruit bats in Africa use tongue clicks in the same way that blind people navigate.
- Bats use a variety of roosts, including but not limited to: caves, trees, rock crevices, bridges, attics, leaf litter, and bat houses.
Big brown bat eating a carrion beetle. Photo by Dylan Horvath
Congratulations to Bat Center student Caroline Byrne, who defended her M.S. thesis on Friday. Caroline first started working with me in 2009, at which time she already had a strong drive to study the social behavior of bats. In 2013, she began her Master’s at ISU, working with a well-studied population of Indiana bats near Plainfield, IN. With known roosts and intense monitoring already a regular part of our project, it was relatively simple for Caroline to implement a study on the social behavior of a wild population of Indiana bats, which no one has ever done. Of course, developing a quantitative description of their behaviors took a bit more work, but Caroline was up to the task! Her innovative study has earned her regional and national presentation awards and she was invited to speak to the Acoustical Society of America in November. Caroline has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the endangered Indiana bat and I know she’ll continue to advance our understanding of bats in her future work. –J. O’Keefe
Congratulations to Bat Center PhD candidate, Scott Bergeson, who successfully passed his comprehensive exams today. Scott is now one step closer to completing his PhD on the roosting ecology of the federally endangered Indiana bat. Scott is a fantastic teacher and researcher and he loves sharing his knowledge of bats with people of all ages!
Vampire bats, known to be highly social and altruistic, spend more time grooming each other than other types of bats! Cool research conducted by an undergraduate student and Dr. Gerry Carter. Read the whole story here at PLoS One or here on Gerry’s blog.
The 9th Annual Indiana Bat Festival was a great success! Over 1000 people visited us during the combined day and nighttime portions of the festival. Live bats and live raptors are always a hit, but folks were also excited about the great kids’ activities, exploring the inflated cave, running the BatVentures course at Dobbs Park, facepainting, and more! We are so grateful to all the volunteers and sponsors who helped make this FREE festival possible. We look forward to seeing you all again next year. More photos on the Bat Festival page.
Do you love bats AND have a talent for art? Now’s the time to create a work of art on the theme “Bats Eat Bugs” for the annual art contest associated with the Indiana Bat Festival (September 19th on Indiana State University’s campus!!). There are cash prizes for first place artwork in the 13-17 and 18 and up age categories. Submit your art by September 11th!! You can find the artwork entry form here: http://www.isubatcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/2015_art_contest_entry_form.pdf
Award winning painting of a tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) by Giorgia Auteri, 2012
Indiana State University is looking to hire a field technician with experience in telemetry to work on a bat presence study in the North Cherokee National Forest. The focus of this study is to compare the efficacy of acoustic data, GIS models, and traditional mist netting survey methods for predicting the presence of Indiana and Northern long-eared bats. The successful applicant will be working on a small crew with a graduate student to conduct acoustic surveys, radio telemetry, mist netting and emergence counts – with work being during both the day and night. Additional duties will include data entry, gear maintenance, decontamination following white-nose protocols, and various other tasks. The position will start late May and run to early August. The successful candidate will obtain experience in multiple bat survey methods while learning bat ID and gaining telemetry experience in mountainous terrain.
Candidates with rabies vaccines will have the opportunity to handle bats, but rabies vaccine/bat handling experience is not a requirement for this position. Preference given to those with telemetry experience.
Please see the following document for required qualifications, salary and how to apply:
2015 ISU TN Telemetry Job Announcement
Friday April 17, 2015 was a historic day in global bat conservation!! Not only did we celebrate Bat Appreciation Day (mark your calendars…it’s always April 17), but there was another momentous event: the signing of a formal agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States to cooperate in efforts to protect bats and their habitats across the North American continent. This agreement provides a platform for continental conservation efforts, which will be particularly important for species like the Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus), which knows no continental boundaries in North America. Cheers to all the hardworking bat biologists that made this possible!
You can find the text of the agreement here.
Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus)