Northern Yellow Bat

NORTHERN YELLOW BAT

Photo Credit:  Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lasiurus intermedius (H. Allen)

OTHER NAMES: Eastern Yellow Bat, Florida Yellow Bat, Greater Yellow Bat, Big Yellow Bat.

DESCRIPTION: One of the largest (adult forearm length = 45-56 mm [1.75-2.18 in.], wingspan = 350-390 mm [13.65-15.21 in.]; weight = 14-20 g [0.49-0.70 oz.]; pregnant females can weigh up to 31 g [1.08 oz.]) bats in North America (Barbour and Davis 1969, Webster et al. 1980, Whitaker and Hamilton 1998). In Alabama, second in size only to the hoary bat. Compared with other species of Lasiurus, ears more distinctly pointed, have only one upper premolar instead of two, and have a slightly keeled calcar. Pelage yellowish orange or yellowish brown with gray or brown tips; longer than other lasiurids, but only anterior half of dorsal surface of tail membrane covered by fur. Also lack white patches of hair typically found on shoulder and wrists of other lasiurid bats. Genders do not differ in color, but females typically are larger than males. Of the two subspecies in North America, only L. i. floridana occurs in Alabama, and are slightly smaller than the nominate subspecies.

DISTRIBUTION:. Known primarily from coastal plain habitats from South Carolina to eastern Texas and south into Central America. Also have been reported from southern Virginia and New Jersey. Only two records in Alabama. A specimen was collected in Mobile County on 24 March 1969 (Linzey 1969). A second specimen was recovered from the Baldwin County Health Department in 2000. Often associated with Spanish moss (Chapman et al. 2000) so it likely occurs only in extreme southern portion of state.

HABITAT:. Habitat associations poorly known. Usually found in a mixture of forest and early successional habitats near water. Roosts under dead fronds of cabbage palm trees and among Spanish moss found in live oaks, or a mixture of longleaf pine and turkey oak. In Florida, where species apparently more abundant, specimens were collected while foraging over large fields, marshes, and savannah-like habitats (Jennings 1958, Sherman 1939).

LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: Although widespread, little is known. Breed during fall and early winter. Females give birth to two to four young in late May and June. Often roost in small colonies whereas males tend to be solitary, except during winter months. Appear to be year-long residents throughout distribution. While active throughout the year, individuals in northern portions of distribution become torpid during cooler months. Feeding aggregations of females and young have been observed over fields near roost trees. Reportedly consume insects from Orders Homoptera, Zygoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera and Hymenoptera; however, diet preferences poorly known in comparison to other species of bats.

BASIS FOR STATUS CLASSIFICATION: Distribution in Alabama poorly known. Appear to be fairly common in Florida, but few records exist in surrounding states. Lack of available data for species indicates it also may be rare in Alabama.

Author: Travis Hill Henry


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