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Noteworthy record of the western yellow bat, Lasiurus xanthinus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae), and a report on the bats of Eagle Nest Canyon, Val Verde County, Texas.

Before 1999 the reported geographic range of Lasiurus xanthinus, the western yellow bat, extended from western Mexico to southern California, through southern Arizona and the southwestern tip of New Mexico (Hall 1981; Schmidly 1991). However, recently specimens have been taken from the mountains in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas (Bradley et al. 1999; Higginbotham et al. 1999; 2000; Jones et al. 1999; Jones & Bradley 1999). This report documents the first record of L. xanthinus from east of the Pecos River in the ecotone region of the South Texas Plains and the Edwards Plateau.

The female specimen of Lasiurus xanthinus was found in the city limits of Del Rio in June 1998. The bat (found with a broken wing) apparently utilized the landscaping of a condominium complex's swimming pool, which was lined with palm trees. Measurements (in mm) were: total length, 115; length of tail, 50; length of hind foot, 10; length of ear, 16; length of forearm, 47; maxillary tooth row, 5.5. These measurements are within the range of measurements for Lasiurus intermedius.

Analysis of the 801 base pairs (bp) cytochrome-b gene region in comparion with other L. xanthinus species confirmed the identification of the Texas L. xanthinus. The specimen from Texas was genetically identical to a specimen from New Mexico (n = 1). Two third position transition bp differences were found between specimens from Sonora (n = 2) and the Texas specimen. Positive identification of these specimens is based on geography in that L. xanthinus is the only yellow bat from western Mexico and New Mexico (Hall 1981). For comparison a L. ega was sequenced and found to be 15% divergent from all L. xanthinus. GenBank accession numbers were assigned to the voucher specimens and they follow museum catalogue numbers given below. The specimen from Texas was catalogued in the Abilene Christian University Natural History Collection (ACUNHC 701, AF369546). The specimens from Sonora (NK11102, AF369548; NK11103, AF369549) and New Mexico (NK 3579, AF369547) were deposited in the University of New Mexico, Museum of Southwestern Biology.

Lasiurus xanthinus is known to prefer palm trees as roosting sites (Hoffmeister 1986). Aged fronds of the trees droop, providing shelter of similar color to the yellow-brown bat and little information is available concerning migration and winter habits. Lasiurus xanthinus was elevated to the species level following the work on chromosomal and genetic studies, which separated it from L. ega (cf. Baker et al. 1988; Morales & Bickham 1995). Davis & Schmidly (1994) suggested that L. ega may be a permanent resident of southern Texas, possibly even expanding its range corresponding to the increased use by landscapers of ornamental palms.

The other extralimital records of Lasiurus xanthinus document its presence in west Texas. Four specimens were obtained between 1996 and 1998 from Big Bend National Park by Higginbotham et al. (2000), who also documented the species' use of giant dagger (Yucca carnerosana) as roosting sites. Bradley et al. (1999) reported two males from the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, also in Brewster County. Jones et al. (1999) further documented L. xanthinus in Davis Mountains State Park (Jeff Davis County).

The sum of these accounts suggests that L. xanthinus is more than an accidental visitor to southwestern Texas. It has been previously suggested that there exists a breeding population in West Texas (Jones et al. 1999). Furthermore, in the downtown area of Del Rio there are many large, old palm trees that may harbor L. xanthinus. This is the fifth record of L. xanthinus in Texas in the last three years, which indicates a recent range expansion rather than a species that was missed by previous sampling efforts.

The recent addition of L. xanthinus to the bat fauna of Val Verde County, Texas, provides support for the importance of this area to the conservation of bats in the United States. Surveys of Eagle Nest Canyon from spring 1997 to fall 2000 near Langtry, in western Val Verde County (29[degrees] 48.8' N, 101[degrees] 33.16' W) show that bat diversity is high for the United States. Eagle Nest is a short (1200 meters long) Upper Cretaceous limestone canyon that opens into the Rio Grande. These surveys found that within the canyon and adjacent Rio Grande are the Ghost-faced bat (Mormoops megalophylla), Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis), cave Myotis (M. velifer), western pipistrelle (Pipistrellus hesperus), hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), Townsend's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii), pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus), Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) and western mastiff bat (Eumops perotis). Two color morphotypes of M. yumanensis (one with light skin and the other with dark brown skin) were caught. The identifications of both colors of bats were checked with analysis of the cytochrome-b gene. Additionally, there are three species of tree-roosting bats recently found in northern Val Verde County on the Devils River. These include the seminole bat Lasiurus seminolus, hoary bat, L. cinereus, and evening bat, Nycticeius humeralis (cf. Brant & Dowler 2000; Dowler et al. 1999). Davis & Schmidly (1994) and Schmidly (1991) report other Val Verde County records of bats to include the only record of a hairylegged vampire (Diphylla ecaudata) in the United States, which was found west of Comstock, the eastern pipistrelle (Pipistellus subflavus) and eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis).


We thank Jack Skiles, Audra Patton, Isabel Lee, Duane Schlitter, Jonathan Wilson and Robert Trujillo for their assistance in the field. This study was funded by an Abilene Christian University Math/Science Research Grant to T. E. Lee, Jr.


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Bradley, R. D., D. S. Carroll, M. L. Clary, C. W. Edwards, I. Tieman-Boege, M. J. Hamilton, R. A. Van Den Bussche & C. Jones. 1999. Comments on Some Small Mammals from the Big Bend and Trans-Pecos Regions of Texas. Occas. Pap., Mus., Texas Tech Univ., 193:1-4.

Brant, J. G. & R. C. Dowler. 2000. Noteworthy Record of the Seminole Bat, Lasiurus seminolus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae), in Val Verde County, Texas. Texas J. Sci., 52(4):353-355.

Davis, W. B. & D. J. Schmidly. 1994. The Mammals of Texas. Bull. Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., Austin, Texas, 338 pp.

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Higginbotham, J. L., L. K. Ammerman & M. T. Dixon. 1999. First record of Lasiurus xanthinus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in Texas. Southwestern Naturalist, 44(3):343-347.

Higginbotham, J. L., M. T. Dixon & L. K. Ammerman. 2000. Yucca Provides Roost for Lasiurus xanthinus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in Texas. Southwestern Nat., 45(3):338-340.

Hoffmeister, D. F. 1986. Mammals of Arizona. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 602 pp.

Jones, C. & R. D. Bradley. 1999. Notes on red bats Lasiurus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae), of the Davis Mountains and vicinity, Texas. Texas J. Sci., 51(4):341-344.

Jones, C., L. Hedges & K. Bryan. 1999. The Western Yellow Bat, Lasiurus xanthinus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae), from the Davis Mountains, Texas. Texas J. Sci., 51(3):267-269.

Morales, J. C. & J. W. Bickham. 1995. Molecular systematics of the genus Lasiurus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) based on restriction-site maps of the mitochondrial ribosomal genes. J. Mamm., 76(3):730-749.

Schmidly, D. J. 1991. The bats of Texas. Texas A & M University Press, College Station, Texas, 188 pp.

Sarah E. Weyandt, Thomas E. Lee, Jr. and John C. Patton*

Department of Biology, Abilene Christian University

Box 27868, Abilene, Texas 79699

* Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas 77843

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Title Annotation:GENERAL NOTES
Author:Weyandt, Sarah E.; Lee, Thomas E., Jr.; Patton, John C.
Publication:The Texas Journal of Science
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Aug 1, 2001
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