Western Red Bat - Illustration by George Maleski

Western Red Bat
Lasiurus blossevillii

 

This species is a medium sized bat with short round ears and a dense fur. The fur is yellow to bright orange, with the ends tipped in white. The wings are black with an average wingspan of twelve inches. The bat weighs one fourth to half an ounce.1

Habitat: L. blossevillii is found in riparian areas at mid-elevations ( 2400-7200 feet). It occurs among broadleaf woodlands where it roosts during the day.

Range: The western red bat has the widest distribution of any American bat, ranging from Canada through the United States east and west of the Great Plains, and south to Panama and South America.2 During winter, it migrates south where it hibernates. In Arizona, it is a summer visitor, ranging all over the state in various areas except the desert.

Diet: The bat is a nocturnal species, foraging one to two hours after sunset and often going until the morning. They feed on moths, beetles, flying ants, and occasionally crickets.1 They usually feed near their roost, and go no farther than necessary for water.3

Reproduction: This species mates between August and October. The female bat stores the sperm until spring when fertilization occurs. Gestation is about 65 days, and litters average two pups.1 The young are usually flying by three to four weeks of age.

Status: Due to loss of habitat, L. blossevillii was listed as an Arizona Species of Special Concern. The red bat falls under the protection of Commission Order 14, which states no bat may be taken dead or alive.1

Western Red Bat in Pima County: In Arizona, western red bats occur "primarily along riparian corridors among oaks, sycamores and cottonwoods in central and southeastern Arizona."3 Loss of riparian habitats may have a negative effect on the bat. In order to keep the bat in Pima County, restoration and protection of the remaining riparian habitat is essential.

References:

1. Snow, Tim K. Western Red Bat Lasiurus blossevillii. Web site: www.gf.state.az.us/frames/fishwild/ngame_m.htm. 8/23/99.

2. Arizona Game and Fish Department. 1997. Lasiurus blossevillii. Unpublished abstract, Heritage Data Management System.

3. BISON-M Taxonomy: Species Western Red Bat Lasiurus blossevillii. October 30, 1997.


 

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