Lesser Long Nosed Bat, Leptonycteris yerbabuenae

The lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae), also known as the Mexican long-nosed bat or more commonly as Sanborn’s long-nosed bat, is a species of leaf-nosed bat that can be found in a different areas depending upon the season. Its summer range includes southern portions of Arizona, California, and New Mexico and a yearly range in southern and eastern portions of Mexico and coasts of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  This species prefers a habitat within scrublands, semiarid grasslands, and forested areas at elevations of up to 1,800 feet. Unlike other bat species, this bat can tolerate temperatures as high as 106 °F, but cannot live in areas where temperatures drop below 50 °F.

The lesser long-nosed bat is small, reaching an average body length of 3.1 inches and a weight between .53 and .88 ounces. Adults are typically yellowish grey or brown in color along the upper body and brown along the underbelly. Its wings are long, enabling it to fly for long distances and to feed with efficiency. The nose of this bat is long and holds a leaf shaped flap of skin. Like other members of its genus, this species has a long tongue that is lined with hook shaped papillae on the tip.

The lesser long-nosed bat is nocturnal and roosts in abandoned mines or caves during the day time hours, gathering in colonies that can number in the thousands. The size and structure of the colonies can vary, with some colonies containing low numbers of individuals due to migration and other colonies holding females in nursery colonies. This main diet of this species consists of nectar from agave and cactus plants, but they may also consume fruits and pollen during the winter months.

The breeding season of the lesser long-nosed bat occurs between the months of November and December in northern areas of its range and from May to June in southern areas. After a pregnancy period of six months, one pup is born, coinciding with the abundance of food. Although this species is able to fly at four weeks of age, weaning does not occur until six to eight weeks of age. This species can live to be over eight years of age in the wild. The lesser long-nosed bat appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Vulnerable.”

Image Caption: Lesser Long-nosed Bat, Leptonycteris yerbabuenae. Credit: Cecil Schwalbe/Wikipedia