California Leaf-nosed Bat - Illustration by George Maleski
California Leaf-nosed Bat
Macrotus californicus


The California leaf-nosed bat is a brown bat with a wingspan of 13.5 inches. The ears are 1.0 to 1.5 inches long and are joined together near the base. The bat has a short tail which extends about 0.5 inches. This species has an erect, lanceolate nose-leaf.

Habitat: The California leaf-nosed bat is known from caves, mines, and rock shelters, mostly in Sonoran desert scrub. Roost sites are usually located near foraging areas.

Range: This species ranges from southern California, southern Nevada, across the southwestern half of Arizona and southward to the southern tip of Baja California, northern Sinaloa, and southwestern Chihuahua, Mexico. In Arizona, the California leaf-nosed bat occurs in Sonoran desert scrub from south of the Mogollon Plateau.

Diet: The California leaf-nosed bat feeds on large flying insects, including grasshoppers, moths, and flying beetles. The bat can catch prey in flight, or may glean forage from vegetation and on the ground. The bat seizes its prey from above, transporting it to a night roost to feed.

Reproduction: Male bats establish courtship areas called leks in mines or caves. Females enter the lek and select a male. Fertilization takes place in fall, though embryological development is delayed through the winter until March when development continues normally. Females congregate in maternity roosts and give birth during May and June. Females nurse their young for one month, at which point the young can fly and forage for themselves.

Status: The California leaf-nosed bat is Federal Species of Concern, an Arizona Game and Fish Department Wildlife of Special Concern, Forest Service Sensitive, and is ranked by the Western Bat Working Group (WBWG) as red/high. The red/high designation is given to species that are imperiled or are at high risk of imperilment. The WBWG recommends these species be given the highest priority for funding, planning, and conservation actions.

The California Leaf-nosed Bat in Pima County: This species has been known to occur in the Coronado National Forest, Organ Pipe National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Tucson Mountain Park, and Colossal Cave Mountain Park. All roosts are considered significant, and all roosts should be protected. The most important threat potentially affecting this species is human disturbance to roosts.



1. Recon. 2001. Draft Priority Vulnerable Species. Analysis and Review of Species Proposed for Coverage by the Multiple-Species Conservation Plan. Pima County Administrator's Office.


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