Remote sensing of long-legged myotis (Myotis volans), and bat community dynamics at the Davis Mountain Preserve, Jeff Davis County, Texas



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Long-legged myotis (Myotis volans) are bats that occur from Washington eastward to Montana and south into western Texas and central Mexico. Long-legged myotis are rare but locally abundant in appropriate habitat. They are known to occur in high-altitude, montane, coniferous forests which are limited in Texas. This habitat-type occurs in Texas in the Chisos, Chinati, Guadalupe, and Davis mountains. Including my study site on the Davis Mountains Preserve. This habitat rarity and limited range of long-legged myotis in Texas have resulted in their listing as a Species of Greatest Conservation need in the state. This study used audio telemetry, a novel telemetry approach, to attempt and identify long-legged myotis roosts. Further, this study compared capture data from historic surveys to our contemporary survey to elucidate bat community shifts at the preserve. We used a linear discriminant analysis (LDA) to classify recorded bat calls to elucidate behavioral patterns of bats occurring at the preserve. We identified shifts in the community, including an increase in abundance from being undetected to being the second most abundant bat for Myotis velifer, from the historic to the modern capture surveys that might be attributable to severe habitat disturbance such as wildfire and woodland thinning. Our acoustic telemetry approach failed to identify roost trees. The LDA could only classify calls to a long-legged myotis and cave myotis (M. velifer) group. We applied the LDA to 40,110 recordings and the subsequent classification to a limited species grouping was used to determine nightly activity patterns for the two species. We determined that the M. volans/M. velifer species group emerge slightly later than sympatric bats and do not exhibit lunar phobic behavior. Our analysis of the bat community at the Davis Mountains Preserve and M. volans/M. velifer behavior serve as a baseline for bat research in the area and support our understanding of the species in other parts of their range.



Bat, Echolocation, Telemetry, Community dynamics