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Velvety fruit-eating bat (Enchistenes harta; Phyllostomidae) in Morelos, Mexico.

The velvety fruit-eating bat (Enchistenes hariii; Phyllostomidae) is a monotypic species of frugivorous bat that belongs to the subfamily Stenodermatinae. In Mexico the species has been reported along the Pacific Slope in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero, and Oaxaca, along the Gulf Slope in Tamaulipas, Puebla, and Veracruz, and also in Chiapas (Arroyo-Cabrales, 2005). It also has been reported for the state of Mexico (Arroyo-Cabrales and Owen, 1996; Chavez and Ceballos, 1998) and Hidalgo (Cervantes et al., 2004). It is widely distributed southward through Central America and South America to Bolivia and Ecuador (Arroyo-Cabrales and Owen, 1997).

In Mexico, and in most of its range, it is considered uncommon to rare and seems to be more abundant at moderate to higher elevations in Mexico. The species has been collected frequently near water and in various types of vegetation, but mostly in cloud forests, tropical deciduous forests, and pine-oak forests (Arroyo-Cabrales and Owen, 1997). The number of localities where it has been recorded are [less than or equal to] 40, and the state of Chiapas has the most records of occurrence (Arroyo-Cabrales and Owen, 1996; Espinoza-Medinilla et al., 1998; Sheeler-Gordon and Smith, 2001; Wang et al., 2003; Cervantes et al., 2004; Espinoza-Medinilla et al., 2004). The Mexican government considers E. hartii to be in need of special protection (Secretaria de Medic, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, 2002), and it is included in the Red List of Threatened Species of the IUCN as being low risk and of least concern (Chiroptera Specialist Group, http://

On 26 May 2007, we captured bats at a site within a section of Barranca La Tilapema contiguous to Loma de Mejia, Ejido de San Anton, Municipio de Cuernavaca, Morelos, ca. 4 km SW of the center of the city of Cuernavaca. Coordinates of the site were 18[degrees]53'58.3"N, 99[degrees]16'06.5'V, elevation was 1,480 m.

Vegetation along the creek is a gallery forest (Rzedowski, 1988) with huge Montezuma cypress trees (Taxodium mucronatum), some Ficus trees, and several species of trees typical of the remnant tropical dry forest still present on slopes of Barranca La Tilapena, e.g., Bursera, Pseudo-bombax ellipticum, Ipomoea pauciflora or Guazuma ulmifolia. Ephiphytic plants were abundant and as well as some bushy species typical of wet creeks (e.g., Piper); in some of the open areas contiguous to the small river there were banana (Musa) or orange (Citrus) plantations. The flat lands away from Barranca La Tilapena have been converted to agricultural lands; cattle drink at the creek.

We set three 12-m and three 6-m mist nets along the creek, spaced 10-20 m apart across the creek where there were small pools. We opened the nets for 5 h beginning at sunset.

We captured one velvety fruit-eating bat (E. hartii) at 2212 h during moderate rain. Its specific identity was confirmed on site using field guides (Medellin et al., 1997; Reid, 1997) and later by examining its pelage, skull, and dentition with the aid of taxonomic keys (Hall, 1981; Alvarez et al., 1994). The specimen was deposited in the mammalian collection of the Centro de Educacion Ambiental e Investigacion Sierra de Huauda, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos (CMC 2072). Other species of bats captured with E. hartii were the Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis), Toltec fruit-eating bat (Dermanura tolteca), intermediate fruit-eating bat (Artibeus intermedius), and Jamaican fruit-eating bat (Artibeus jamaicensis).

The E. hartii was a non-reproductive adult female. It possessed dark brown fur with two huffy brown lines on each side of the face and its nose-leaf was short, broad, and with its lower edge not separated from the upper lip; features characteristic of the species (Reid, 1997; Arroyo-Cabrales, 2005). Ventral coloration was paler than dorsal coloration, a feature reported by other authors (Hall, 1981; Villa and Cervantes, 2003).

External measurements (mm) were: length of forearm, 40; length of ear, 13; length of hind foot, 10.5; total length, 55.4; weight, 19 g. Skull measurements (mm) were: greatest length, 21; zygomatic breadth, 13; mastoidal breadth, 11.3; width of postorbital constriction, 6.5; length of maxillary toothrow, 7.1; length of mandibular toothrow, 7.3. Its dental formula was i 2/2, c 1/1, p 2/2, m 3/3 = 32. Measurements of this specimen are consistent with previous descriptions reported for other localities in Mexico (Hall, 1981; Arroyo-Cabrales and Owen, 1996; Villa and Cervantes, 2003; Cervantes et al., 2004) and Central America (Arroyo-Cabrales, 1997).

Our record extends known range of the velvety fruit-eating bat by ca. 52 km into central Mexico from the nearest previous record at Malinaltenango, state of Mexico, 1,400 m elevation (Arroyo-Cabrales and Owen, 1996). No information is available about the type of vegetation at Malinaltenango, but based on recent vegetation maps, it is an area mostly covered by remnants of tropical dry forest and agricultural lands (Secretaria de Medic, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, 2000). Other previous records are in Hidalgo, near Tlanchinol, about 238 km northeast of our new record, at an elevation of 1,451 m along a watercourse within an open cloud forest, which was dominated by trees (Liquidambar macrophylla and Quercus), as well as arboreal ferns (Cyathea; Cervantes et al., 2004). Another record is from Puebla near Cuahutempan, 131 km east of our locality, at 1,690 m elevation. The velvety fruit-eating bat also has been reported from a locality at 1,550 m elevation in a cloud forest in the Sierra de Atoyac, Guerrero, ca. 200 km southeast of our new record (Arroyo-Cabrales and Owen, 1996). Our record is important because it emphasizes the need to learn more about the distribution of the velvety fruit-eating bat in order to more accurately assess its conservation status in Mexico (Arroyo-Cabrales, 2005).

We thank the Centro de Educacion Ambiental e Investigacion Sierra de Huautla-Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos and Promotora Ambiental Sociedad Anonima Bursatil de Capital Variable (PASA) for logistical and financial support. This research was conducted under permit SGPA/DGVS/01384/06 issued by Direccion General de Vida Silvestre from the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales to LBV.

Submitted 26, June 2007. Accepted 8 February 2008. Associate Editor was Celia Lopez-Gonzalez.


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Departamento de Ecologia, Centro de Educacion Ambiental e Investigacion Sierra de Huautla, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos, Avenida Universidad 1001, Colonia Chamilpa, C.P. 62209, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico (CLOL, DVG, ADLI, AH, LGAT)

Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, Universidad Nacional AutOnoma de Mexico, Avenida Universidad s/n, Circuito 2, C.P. 62210, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico (LBV)

Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A. C. Damas 49, Colonia San Jose Insurgentes, Mexico, D.F. (AJR)

Posgrado en Ciencias Biologicas, Apartado Postal 70-275 Ciudad Universitaria, Universidad Nacional AutOnoma de Mexico, Mexico, D.F. (MECA)

Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biologicas y Agropecuarias, Universidad de Guadalajara, Km 15.5 Carretera Guadalajra-Nogales, Predio las Agujas, Nextipac, Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico (MDLPD)

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Title Annotation:Notes
Author:Orozco-Lugo, Carmen Lorena; Valenzuela-Galvan, David; Vazquez, Luis Bernardo; Rhodes, Andrew John; D
Publication:Southwestern Naturalist
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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