Journey North News

Lesser Long-Nosed Bat Migration Update:
March 21, 1996

(Translated from Spanish Version Posted on 3/21/96)

Greetings from Tuscon, Arizona. I'm Ginny Dalton and I'll help tell the story of lesser long-nosed bat migration over the next weeks. I've been studying the migration, roosting and foraging behavior of bats for the past 20 years. To learn about their natural behavior, my husband Dave and I have even videotaped bats in the dark within their day roost. We use night vision equipment and infrared lighting to do this. Along with my expertise in bats and cave biology, I have a Ph D in Zoology. By the way, we offer refer to lesser long-nosed bat as "Leptos" since it's easier to say and write.

Accompanying my report today you'll also find:

* Instructions for reporting bat sightings in your own region.

* News about bat conservation.

* Age-old folklore about the origin of bats

Since Journey North began 7 weeks ago, you've learned about changes in biomes across North America. Spring is affecting the plains, forests, tundra and oceans--and the desert biome is no exception. Together we're about to explore a fascinating migration which involves the lives of bats and plants of the Sonoran Desert.

Lesser long-nosed bats, Leptonycteris curasoae, live in caves and mines in groups of 5-50 to as many as 100,000 individuals. In the summer months of June and July female bats aggregate in "maternity colonies" where they give birth and raise their young. Mother bats stay with their young until they are able to fly and forage on their own. We still have very little information on what the males do and where they roost. Biologists have found many more females than males in cave and mine roosts.

Lesser long-nosed bats are found in the dry portions of the tropics of Mexico and El Salvador. During the summer these bats are also found in the southern parts of Arizona and New Mexico. I've provided the names of many Mexican and American towns where these bats can be found. Your first task is to make a "range map" for Leptos. A range map is a map that shows the boundaries within which a species can be found.

After making your range map and CAREFULLY reading all the information in this report see if you can answer Challenge Question # 47

"Why do you think Lesser-long nosed bats migrate?"

Here are some general facts about bats. As you work to answer Challenge Question #47 these facts may (or may not!) serve as clues:

* When bats run out of a local food source, they can either migrate to another area that has food available or they can hibernate if the food resource really disappears (as happens in temperate regions).

* Leptos are not capable of hibernating because they cannot lower their body temperature to go into the torpid state required for hibernation. Many bats in the New World are capable of extended torpor, but lesser long-nosed bats are not among them.

* Besides running out of food in the northern part of its range (SW US), the bats face the additional hardship of lower ambient temperatures. They are not metabolically adapted to surviving long periods of cold.

How to Make and Analyze Your Range Map of Lesser Long-nosed Bats

1. Find a good map of Mexico. Locate the places listed below on your map.

2. Next, using an atlas, learn about the physical parameters of the bats' range. What is the rainfall? What is the climate of the region and how does it change with the seasons? What landforms, vegetation and general elevations exist in this area?

3. Finally, answer Challenge Question # 47 according to the instructions at the end of this report.


Locations of Lesser Long-Nosed Bats

Note: The localities marked with a * are as stated in the literature. The rest represent our best guess as to the location of the closest town.


Ajo, Arizona
Casa Grande, Arizona
Portal, Arizona
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Tucson Arizona
Animas New Mexico


Buena Vista Baja *
Mulege Baja *
Candelaria Baja
Santa Rosa Baja
La Paz Baja
Puerto Escondido Baja
Ligui Baja
Tuxtla Gutierrez Chiapas *
Cintalapa Chiapas
San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas
Tonala Chiapas
Uruachic Chihuahua
Batopilas Chihuahua
La Ciudad Durango
Mezquital Durango
Zihuatanejo Guerrero
Petatlan Guerrero
Tenexpa Guerrero
San Jeronimo Guerrero
Acapulco Guerrero
Chilpanango Guerrero
Balsas Guerrero
Apaxtla Guerrero
Chanela Jalisco *
Bolanos Ja;isco *
Lake Chapala Jalisco *
San Martin Hidalgo Jalisco *
El Tuito Jalisco
Autlan Jalisco
Tuxpan Jalisco
Valle de Bravo Mexico
Tejupilco Mexico
Tenancingo Mexico
Pomaro Michoacan
Playa Azul Michoacan
Infiernillo Michoacan
Nuevo Churumuco Michoacan
Zacapa Michoacan
Indaparapeo Michoacan
Acuitzio Michoacan
Acaponeta Nayarit *
Tepic Nayarit
Composleta Nayarit
Nayar Nayarit
Los Herreras Nuevo Leon
Mitla Oaxaca *
Teotepec Oaxaca
Napala Oaxaca
Oaxaca Oaxaca
Etla Oaxaca
Tehuantepec Oaxaca
Juchitan Oaxaca
Techuacan Puebla
Atlixco Puebla
Matehuala San Luis Potosi
Arista San Luis Potosi
Pozas de Santa Ana San Luis Potosi
Rioverde San Luis Potosi
Rayon San Luis Potosi
San Miguel Zapotitian Sinaloa *
Eldorado Sinaloa *
El Fuerte Sinaloa
Toro Sinaloa
Badiraguato Sinaloa
Pericos Sinaloa
Quelite Sinaloa
Concordia Sinaloa
Sonoita Sonora *
Carbo Sonora *
Bahia Kino Sonora *
Alamos Sonora *
Tajito Sonora *
Escuinapa Sinaloa *
Hermosillo Sonora *
Mayatan Sonora
Guaymas Sonora
San Pedro Sonora
Bacabachi Sonora
Alamos Sonora
Tapizuelas Sonora
Llera Tamanlipas
Santander Jimenez Tamanlipas
Veracruz Veracruz

How to Respond to Challenge Question # 47

1. Address an e-mail message to:

2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #47.

3. In the Body of your message, answer this question:

"Why do you think Lesser-long nosed bats migrate?"

The Next Lesser-long Nosed Bat Migration Update Will be Posted on April 4, 1996.

Photo Credit: Merlin D. Tuttle,Bat Conservation International.

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