Greater Long Nosed Bat, Leptonycteris nivalis
The greater long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis), also known as the Mexican long-nosed bat, is a species of leaf-nosed bat that can be found in Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States. It prefers a habitat within temperate forests or desert scrublands. The greater long-nosed bat migrates seasonally to different areas of is range, most likely due to weather patterns and food abundance.
In Mexico, the greater long-nosed bat roosts in male and female colonies, but during midsummer, after young are born, mothers will roost in nursery colonies. Late summer colonies can hold up to thirteen thousand bats, but recent studies have shown that these large numbers may be small compared to past population numbers. In this area of its range, the species consumes nectar, fruit, pollen, and insects.
When migrating to Texas in the United States, the greater long-nosed bat appears to time its arrival to coincide with the blooming of the blue Agave, from which Tequila is made. In this area of its range, the species roosts in scrub woodlands and can only be seen between the months of June and August. Roosts, which occur in caves, cliff faces, and abandoned mines, can contain between only a few bats to thousands. It feeds on the nectar of the blue agave plant in this area.
The greater long-nosed bat is threatened by habitat loss, which is thought to be the main cause of its decline. A program known as the Program for the Conservation of Migratory Bats was created in 1995 to protect this species and other species of migratory bats that occur between the United States and Mexico. The program focuses on education, research, and conservation to save migratory bats and has been extremely successful thus far. The greater long-nosed bat appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Endangered.”
Image Caption: Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis). Credit: Joelr31/Wikipedia