Pallid Bat - Antrozous pallidus
The Pallid Bat is large and pale, with large ears (not joined at base), large eyes, a simple muzzle, and a yellowish drab dorsal pelage that is paler towards the hair tips and darker at the base (palest in deserts, darkest along coast). The calcar lacks a keel. The total length is 92 to 135 millimeters, tail length is 35 to 53 millimeters, hind foot length is 11 to 16 millimeters, ear length is 21 to 37 millimeters, forearm length is 45 to 60 millimeters, and skull length is 18.6 to 24 millimeters. Females tend to be larger than males (mass 13.6 to 24.1 grams in males, 13.9 to 28.0 grams in females) (Hermanson and O'Shea 1983). The skull has 28 teeth (dental formula: I 1/2, C 1/1, P 1/2, M 3/3) (Nagorsen and Brigham 1993).
The Pallid Bat differs from most other Vespertilionids in having much larger ears, larger eyes, and paler pelage. It differs from the Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) by lacking the lumps on the nose, having ears that are not joined at the base, a pale rather than brownish pelage, and a larger body size. It differs from the Spotted Bat (Euderma maculatum) most noticeably by lacking the dark pelage with the prominent white spots. It is the only bat species found in Montana with two pair of lower incisors. Pallid Bats also have a distinctive skunky odor.
Western Hemisphere Range
Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 20
(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version)
Map Help and Descriptions
(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
No information is documented for Montana; all records are from summer (Shryer and Flath 1980, Worthington 1991, P. Hendricks and J. Carlson personal observation). Little information is available from other locations either (Barbour and Davis 1969, Schmidly 1991). Distances of fall movements are not known, but Pallid Bats seem to be somewhat sedentary and probably do not move far between summer and winter roosts (Barbour and Davis 1969).
Habitat at the Carbon County sites is Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) and black sagebrush (Artemisia nova). The Rosebud County site is in an area of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). Both areas have rock outcrops (limestone or sandstone) in the immediate vicinity or within short flying distance. This species has not yet been detected at rock crevices, caves or abandoned mines in Montana; most observations have been at water sources (spring-fed streams or ponds; e.g. Carbon County) (Shryer and Flath 1980). However, habitat use in Montana by this species remains poorly known and unstudied.
At other locations, Pallid Bats have been found in arid deserts, juniper woodlands, sagebrush shrub-steppe, and grasslands, often with rocky outcrops and water nearby. They are less abundant in evergreen and mixed conifer woodlands, but in British Columbia are found in ponderosa pine forest near cliffs (Nagorsen and Brigham 1993). They typically roost in rock crevices or buildings, less often in caves, tree hollows, under bridges, and in abandoned mines (Hermanson and O'Shea 1983, Verts and Carraway 1998); night roosts often are in caves in Oklahoma (Caire et al. 1989). Four summer roosts in Wyoming were in rock shelters (1), caves (2), and mines (1) (Priday and Luce 1997). Day and night roosts are usually distinct. In Oregon, night roosts were in buildings, under rock overhangs, and under bridges; Pallid Bats generally were faithful to particular night roosts both within and between years (Lewis 1994). Night roosts in British Columbia were often in cavities in ponderosa pine (Nagorsen and Brigham 1993). Day roosts include rock piles, tree hollows, and rock crevices. Pallid Bats found in caves or mines usually use crevices within these places (Hermanson and O'Shea 1983, Caire et al. 1989). Maternity colonies are often located in horizontal crevices in rock outcrops and man-made structures, where temperatures are a fairly constant 30 degrees.
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
How Associations Were Made
We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for
vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
- Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
- Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
- Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
- Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.
In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.
However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if
point observations were associated with that system.
Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.
The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.
If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.
Suggested Uses and Limitations
Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.
These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp
) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.
Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.
Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.
Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).
Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.
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- Dobkin, D. S. 1992. Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34. Missoula, MT.
- Foresman, K.R. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
- Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998. Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates. Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. 1302 p.
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- Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath. 2004. Amphibians and reptiles of Montana. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
Forest and Woodland Systems
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Sparse and Barren Systems
Wetland and Riparian Systems
The primary diet is arthropods, which are often captured on the ground after an aerial search. They also capture some food (large insects) in flight, within a few meters of ground vegetation. Food items include flightless arthropods, such as scorpions, solpugids, centipedes, Jerusalem crickets, grasshoppers, moths, and beetles; they may eat small vertebrates, such as lizards and mice (O'Shea and Vaughan 1977, Hermanson and O'Shea 1983, Johnston and Fenton 2001). Pallid Bats also visit bat-adapted plants (e.g., Agave), probably seeking insects (Herrera et al. 1993). Foraging often occurs at 0.5 to 2.5 meters above ground. The diet and foraging behavior in Montana have not been reported or studied.
Pallid Bats are active in Arizona from early April through October; Oregon records extend from mid-April to late September (O'Shea and Vaughan 1977, Verts and Carraway 1998). Relative to other bat species, they emerge from roosts relatively late in the day (45 minutes or more after sunset), which may protect them from some aerial predators. They are a gregarious species. They usually form clusters in diurnal roosts, and may also gather in night roosts that are frequently near, but separate from, day roosts (Lewis 1994). Brazilian Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) and Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis) may roost among Pallid Bats in some regions (Hermanson and O'Shea 1983). Pallid Bats are pollinators of columnar cacti and agaves in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, although they may be visiting the flowers to capture insects (Herrera et al. 1993). There appear to be no estimates of abundance for any locality where this bat occurs. The ecology and predators in Montana have not been studied or reported.
Capture of males, lactating females, and juveniles indicates reproduction is occurring in Montana (Worthington 1991, Foresman 2012), although timing of reproductive events is poorly defined. Lactating females have been captured in early August (P. Hendricks and J. Carlson personal observation), and juveniles in August and early September.
Based upon data gathered from other locations, copulation usually occurs in October to December. Maternity colonies are situated where temperatures are a fairly constant 30 degrees. Fertilization is delayed until spring. In the U.S., young are born in late May to early June in California, mostly late June in Kansas, and probably early May to mid-June in Texas (Schmidly 1991). The normal litter size is 2, but sometimes only one young is born. Young begin to fly at 6 weeks and are weaned in 6 to 8 weeks (Hermanson and O'Shea 1983). In Oregon, reproductive success was reduced in a year with low spring temperatures, and roost-site switching by pregnant and lactating females was correlated to ectoparasite loads (Lewis 1993, 1996). Maternity colonies usually are small, but may include up to 200 adults, including a few adult males (O'Shea and Vaughan 1977, Hermanson and O'Shea 1983, Lewis 1996).
Pallid Bats have persisted for over 20 years in the general area of the state where they were first discovered (Shryer and Flath 1980, Worthington 1991, P. Hendricks and J. Carlson personal observation). This is encouraging, given that essentially nothing is known of abundance, reproductive biology, habitat requirements, movements, and roost site selection in Montana, nor have the potential threats to this bat been identified. The lack of information on this species makes development and implementation of any effective management activity tenuous at best. Fortunately, the roosting habitat often favored by this bat (crevices in cliffs and rock outcrops) provides it protection from many kinds of disturbance. Nevertheless, any roosts that are discovered should be protected and monitored, as Pallid Bats also use abandoned buildings and bridges as roosts. Studies to fill the gaps in our knowledge of this bat in Montana are needed, especially surveys throughout the state in appropriate habitats and landscapes to determine the full extent of its distribution. The most immediate management action that can benefit this species (and other bat species as well) is protection of water sources in arid regions where this bat is present and water sources are limited. Open waste sumps, and similar hazardous standing water bodies associated with oil and gas fields, could present a significant hazard to Pallid Bats and other bat species as these energy resources are exploited.
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
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- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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