Winter roosting by eastern red bats in ozark mountain forests of missouri


The eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis Müller, 1776) is a widespread species that roosts in evergreen or dead foliage suspended in trees during winter but retreats to leaf litter during colder periods. Roosting in leaf litter by eastern red bats makes them vulnerable to prescribed fires in winter. Using radio telemetry, we tracked 33 male eastern red bats to 101 winter (November–February) roosts and quantified roost locations, habitat surrounding roosts, and landscape attributes of roost locations. When roosting in trees, bats preferred oaks but generally avoided other tree species; they used pines in proportion to their availability. During colder periods, bats retreated to roosts in leaf litter where 21% suffered mortality either from predation/scavenging or unknown causes while roosting on the ground. Models of roost selection indicated that southerly aspect was the most important factor determining roost selection, and both tree- and leaf-litter roosts were predominately (≥94%) on upper south-facing slopes. Prescribed burning in late morning/early afternoon on clear days when temperatures under leaf litter are warmest in winter could reduce potential mortality by allowing faster arousal time for hibernating bats.



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aspect, bats, burning, eastern red bat, leaf litter, prescribed fire, winter roosting

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