Bats in riparian-restoration sites along the lower Colorado River, Arizona.
Herein, we report on two species of bats that are noteworthy because they either have never been reported from the lower Colorado River (western red bat, Lasiurus blossevillii) or were presumed extirpated (Arizona myotis, Myotis occultus). in lowland desert regions of the southwestern united States, both species depend on riparian habitats for roosting, foraging, or both (Grinnell, 1914; Cockrum, 1960; Barbour and Davis, 1969; Hoffmeister, 1986). Documentation of these species within artificially created, native-riparian habitats may prove useful in measuring success of habitat-restoration projects (McCoy and Mushinsky, 2002; Palmer et al., 2005).
Western red bats have been recorded previously in Arizona in riparian systems such as the Big Sandy, San Pedro, and the Bill Williams rivers (Hoffmeister, 1986). Prior to our efforts, western red bats had not been reported along the lower Colorado River. We captured the first western red bat there in February 2009. In subsequent surveys, we captured 10 additional individuals. All captures were within three habitat-restoration areas: 'Ahakhav Tribal Preserve (34.1269[degrees]N, 114.3342[degrees]W), ca. 1.2 km SW Parker, La Paz County, Arizona; Palo Verde Ecological Reserve (33.6908[degrees]N, 114.5261[degrees]W), ca. 3.6 km NE Blythe, Riverside County, California; and Cibola Valley Conservation Area (33.4105[degrees]N, 114.6634[degrees]W), 1.2 km N Cibola, La Paz County, Arizona. Four males were captured during winter (January-February) and five males and two females were captured during late summer (August-September).
Arizona myotis occur commonly throughout high-elevation pine forests in Arizona and New Mexico (Findley and Jones, 1967; Barbour and Davis, 1969; Valdez et al., 1999). A few exceptions at lower elevations include populations along several large rivers (Colorado, Verde, and Rio Grande rivers),where they occupy cottonwood-dominated riparian habitats (Grinnell, 1914; Allen, 1922; Stager, 1943; Hayward, 1963). Arizona myotis was first described on the lower Colorado River (Hollister, 1909). The last known colony along the lower Colorado River was in Blythe Bridge, Riverside County, California, and La Paz County, Arizona (Stager, 1943), which was replaced in the 1950s. The species has been presumed extirpated from the Colorado River (P. Brown, pers. comm.).Since 2007, 15 individuals have been captured at the 'Ahakhav Tribal Preserve. All females captured during May 2007 were either pregnant or lactating, indicating a maternity colony. in 2010, two specimens were captured at the Cibola Valley Conservation Area. Voucher specimens from each site were deposited in the university of New Mexico Museum of Southwestern Biology (accessions 224058 and 224059).
These species of bats may prove useful for justifying restoration and monitoring success of restoration in southwestern riparian habitats. For example, preliminary data show higher rates of activity of western red bats in riparian areas > 20 ha. Small restoration areas monitored concurrently with large areas indicated no change in activity of western red bats over time. Presence of western red bats at large restoration areas was detected within 3-5 years of planting, which offers relatively quick feedback on use of habitats by this species. We anticipate that these trends will continue as more riparian habitats are created and suggest further research on the utility of these species as indicators of success of restoration programs.
We thank The Colorado River Indian Tribes for allowing access to the 'Ahakhav Tribal Preserve. We acknowledge personnel of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and California Department of Fish and Game for logistical assistance. T. Olson, S. Broderick, J. Kahl, C. Dodge, M. Given, J. Hill, S. Hines, L. Piest, and B. Vizcarra provided assistance in the field. We thank C. Dodge for translating the abstract and N. Muirhead for reviewing and editing the manuscript prior to submittal. P. Brown and B. Berry provided valuable knowledge and guidance that was the impetus for our research along the lower Colorado River. Funding was provided by the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program.
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Submitted 16 June 2011. Accepted 3 April 2012. Associate Editor was Stephen G. Mech.
Allen W. Calvert * and Sean A. Neiswenter
Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado Region, Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program Office, Boulder City, NV 89006 (AWC)
School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 454004, Las Vegas, NV 89154 (SAN)
* Correspondent: email@example.com
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|Author:||Calvert, Allen W.; Neiswenter, Sean A.|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2012|
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