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Noteworthy Records of Bats from Central Georgia
Michael J. Bender and Dennis Parmley

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 7, Number 4 (2008): 619–626

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2008 SOUTHEASTERN NATURALIST 7(4):619–626 Noteworthy Records of Bats from Central Georgia Michael J. Bender1 and Dennis Parmley2,* Abstract - On the basis of published records, 16 bat species occur in Georgia. Of these, only one species is documented from Baldwin County in central Georgia, but records from surrounding counties suggest the likelihood of additional species inhabiting the county. On the basis of museum specimens in the mammal collection of Georgia College and State University, we report seven species of bats inhabiting the county: Perimyotis subfl avus (Eastern Pipistrelle), Nycticeius humeralis (Evening Bat), Lasiurus borealis (Red Bat), Lasiurus seminolus (Seminole Bat), Eptesicus fuscus (Big Brown Bat), Myotis austroriparius (Southeastern Myotis), and Tadarida brasiliensis (Brazilian Free-tailed Bat). With the exception of the Brazilian Freetailed Bat, the specimens represent first records from Baldwin County. Moreover, the records significantly add to the general baseline information of species richness and distribution of bats in central Georgia, and they help fill distribution gaps in this part of the southeastern United States. Introduction A recent synthesis of bat records from Georgia by Menzel et al. (2000) documented 16 species occurring in the state, but also illustrates the paucity of information about the distribution of bats throughout the state. Menzel et al. (2000) stated that intense bat surveys are lacking for most of Georgia. This lack of sampling effort has resulted in state range maps for some species based on incomplete data. In certain areas of the state, ranges for many chiropteran species can be inferred only from their documented presence in neighboring counties. For example, based on data from Menzel et al. (2000), one geographic area in critical need of sampling effort is the central portion of the state, including Baldwin County. Georgia is subdivided into at least six physiographic provinces (Wharton 1978; also see Fig. 1 of Menzel et al. 2000). The vegetational, and to some degree, faunal aspects of the state’s provinces are detailed by Wharton (1978). Baldwin County is centrally located and uniquely positioned with the Fall Line separating the Piedmont in approximately the northern twothirds of the county and the Upper Coastal Plain in the southern one-third (Fig. 1). This geographic range suggests that the county potentially hosts a diverse assemblage of bat species due to the convergence of taxa typically found in either the Coastal Plain or the Piedmont province. Nonetheless, Menzel et al. (2000) documented only one bat species from the county, Tadarida brasiliensis (I. Geoffroy) (Brazilian Free-tailed Bat). These same 1D.B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. 2Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, GA 31061. *Corresponding author - dennis. parmley@gcsu.edu. 620 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 7, No. 4 records indicated the likelihood of several additional species inhabiting the county based on their documented presence in or near the central Georgia area. Due to a lack of sampling effort, however, the bat species richness of Baldwin County has not been documented on the basis of voucher specimens. We document seven bat species from this central Georgia county on the basis of museum specimens. Methods and Materials The accounts given here are based on unpublished museum records of bat specimens cataloged in the Georgia College and State University Collection of Recent Mammals (GCM; specimens listed in Appendix I) and any field notes that accompanied the specimens. Sex of specimens was determined by the presence or absence of a conspicuous penis (Racey 1988), and age was determined by backlighting the wing and observing the level of epiphysealdiaphyseal fusion (Anthony 1988). The taxonomy used here generally follows that of Baker et al. (2003). Species Accounts Order Chiroptera Blumenbach Family Vespertilionidae Gray Eptesicus fuscus (Beauvois) (Big Brown Bat). The Big Brown Bat is widely distributed in Georgia and most of the United States, with previous Georgia records mainly from the Upper Piedmont/Appalachian Highlands and Lower Coastal Plain (Golley 1962, Menzel et al. 2000). Menzel et al. (2000) documented the species from two central Georgia counties (Jones and Figure 1. Location of Baldwin County in relation to the Piedmont and Coastal Plain physiographic provinces (modified from Wharton 1978 and Menzel et al. 2000). 2008 M.J. Bender and D. Parmley 621 Bibb). GCM holdings of this taxon include 17 specimens (6 adult males, 9 adult females, 2 juvenile females). Most of the specimens were collected during mid-summer to early fall months (June through October) over ponds in mixed pine-deciduous woodlands, but a few individuals came from buildings that were being used as summer roosts: an outbuilding located in a mixed pine-deciduous habitat approximately 13 km west of Milledgeville, and the roof eaves of an apartment complex in Milledgeville located along the shore of Lake Sinclair. Lasiurus seminolus (Rhoads) (Seminole Bat). Golley (1962) indicated that the range of the Seminole Bat is “probably statewide except for the mountain region.” Menzel et al. (2000) state that the Seminole Bat is predominantly found in the Upper and Lower Coastal Plain provinces in Georgia (south of the Fall Line). The species previously has been documented from only two central Georgia counties (Washington and Peach; Menzel et al. 2000). Only three individuals are represented in the GCM collections (1 adult male, 1 adult female, 1 adult of unknown sex). The specimens were collected in the summer and fall (late July and early October) over three separate pond sites located a few km apart. In all cases, the ponds were located in livestock pasturelands surrounded by scattered woodlots of mixed pine and deciduous trees. Lasiurus borealis (Müller) (Eastern Red Bat). Records of the Eastern Red Bat in Georgia are scattered across the state, but mainly are from the northern one-third and southern one-third of the state (Golley 1962, Menzel et al. 2000). The species has been documented previously from three central Georgia counties (Jones, Bibb, and Hancock; Menzel et al. 2000). Fourteen specimens of the Eastern Red Bat are represented in the GCM collections (8 adult males, 5 adult females, 1 juvenile male). All specimens were collected during mid-summer and fall months (June to October) over ponds situated in pasturelands with surrounding mixed pine-deciduous woodlots. Nycticeius humeralis (Rafinesque) (Evening Bat). The distribution of this species probably is statewide, but lack of sampling effort leaves many gaps in the Georgia distribution of the species (Golley 1962, Menzel et al. 2000), especially across the central portion of the state. Most documented records of this species in Georgia are from the Upper Piedmont and Lower Coastal Plain (Menzel et al. 2000). Although previously unrecorded in Baldwin County, it has been documented from two surrounding central Georgia counties (Putman and Warren; Menzel et al. 2000). The Evening Bat is the most common bat in the GCM collections, with 21 individuals from summer, fall, and mid-winter (June to February) collections (8 adult males, 12 adult females, 1 unsexed juvenile). The GCM specimens collected during summer months came from diurnal roosts in residences and outbuildings, or were collected while foraging over ponds at night. Although this bat is often abundant in its range, very little is known concerning many aspects of its life history (Barbour and Davis 1969). Little, for example, is known about the 622 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 7, No. 4 winter roosting habits of this species (e.g., Barbour and Davis 1969; Menzel et al. 2000, 2003; Whitaker and Hamilton 1998), especially in the southeast United States (e.g., Menzel et al. 2000, 2003). In fact, Menzel et al. (2000, see Table 2) did not list a single record of a winter roost in Georgia for this species, but Bain (1981) documented the species using buildings as winter roosts in Florida. Hand capture of three individuals in two separate occupied residences in Milledgeville during February indicated that this species will utilize urban houses in this area of the state. Perimyotis subfl avus (F. Cuvier) (Eastern Pipistrelle; use of the genus Perimyotis instead of Pipistrellus follows Menu 1984 and Hoofer and Van den Bussche 2003). Golley (1962) and Menzel et al. (2000) list the Georgia distribution of this species as statewide. However, most documented records of the Eastern Pipistrelle in the state are from the Appalachian Highlands/ Blue Ridge/uppermost Piedmont of north Georgia and the southern extent of the Upper and Lower Coastal Plain provinces. Only two counties in central Georgia (Washington and Emanuel; Golley 1962, Menzel et al. 2000) have recorded specimens of this species. This species is represented in the GCM collections by 16 individuals (2 adult males, 8 adult females, 1 juvenile male, 2 juvenile females, 3 adults of unknown sex). Specimens were collected during summer to fall months (July to October) either over ponds situated in pasturelands with associated mixed pine-deciduous woodlands, or over grass fields bordered by woodlands. Myotis austroriparius (Rhoads) (Southeastern Myotis). While two records of the southeastern myotis are known from the Piedmont (north of the Fall Line) and one is known from the Upper Coastal Plain in Washington County (immediately south of Baldwin County), most records of this species are from the southern extent of the Upper Coastal Plain and Lower Coastal Plain of the state (Menzel et al. 2000). The roosting habits of this bat are not well known in Georgia, but the species is known to use buildings as summer roosts (see Table 2 of Menzel et al. 2000). The Baldwin County specimen was using a wooden window shutter of a Milledgeville residence as a diurnal summer roost. The individual was washed from underneath the shutter in July 2007 during house maintenance. Family Molossidae Gervais, in de Castlenau Tadarida brasiliensis (I. Geoffroy) (Brazilian Free-tailed Bat). The Brazilian Free-tailed Bat has been documented predominantly from the Upper and Lower Coastal Plain provinces of Georgia (Menzel et al. 2000). Golley (1962) noted that erratic individuals might account for specimens recorded from areas outside of the Coastal Plain provinces. Three counties in the central Georgia area, including Baldwin County, have recorded specimens of the Brazilian Free-tailed Bat (Washington and Bibb; Menzel et al. 2000). There are two individuals of this bat in the GCM collections (1 adult male and 1 adult female) from two different diurnal roosts located in buildings. In both cases, the roosts were simultaneously inhabited by Big Brown Bats. 2008 M.J. Bender and D. Parmley 623 Results and Discussion Two families, six genera, and seven species of chiropterans from Baldwin County are represented in the GCM collections. With the exception of Brazilian Free-tailed Bat, these are first records for Baldwin County. These records add significantly to the general baseline knowledge of bat species richness in central Georgia, and they help fill in distribution gaps of these species in this area of the southeastern United States. Additionally, winter captures of Evening Bats from occupied urban residences add to the known winter roosting requirements of this common species. The need for further research in the central Georgia area is, however, still high. Intense surveys of many of the surrounding counties are needed to fully understand the composition of the bat community in this area of the state. Moreover, much work concerning roosting habitats, foraging, and reproduction is necessary to properly manage bat populations in Georgia. In short, bat research in this area of the state is in its initial stages, with much work yet to be completed. Moreover, the possible presence of additional species in the central Georgia area should not be ruled out. For example, Lasionycteris noctivagans (LeConte) (Silver-haired Bat) is not documented from Baldwin County. This monotypic species probably reaches the southern extent of its Georgia range along the Fall Line (Kunz 1982), which suggests it could be present in Baldwin County. As noted by Menzel et al. (2000, and references within), it is a migratory species that is probably rare in Georgia during the summer months; thus, its apparent absence in Baldwin County may be attributed to a lack of sampling effort. Acknowledgments We thank L. Chandler for reviewing and improving an earlier draft of this manuscript, and the many GCSU biology students who helped with various bat-related field projects. All voucher specimens added to the GCM collections during the tenor of the junior author were done so under the guidelines of a Georgia Department of Natural Resources (Wildlife Resources Division) collecting permit. Literature Cited Anthony, E.L.P. 1988. Age determination in bats. Pp. 47–58, In T.H. Kunz (Ed.). Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington, DC. Bain, J.R. 1981. Roosting ecology of three Florida bats: Nycticeius humeralis, Myotis austroriparius, and Tadarida brasiliensis. M.Sc. Thesis. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 131 pp. Baker, J.B., L.C. Bradley, R.D. Bradley, J.W. Dragoo, M.D. Engstrom, R.S. Hoffmann, C.A. Jones, F. Reid, D.W. Rice, and C. Jones. 2003. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 2003. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University 229:1–23. Barbour, R.W., and W.H. Davis. 1969. Bats of America. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. 286 pp. 624 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 7, No. 4 Golley, F.F. 1962. Mammals of Georgia. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA, 218 pp. Hoofer, S.R., and R.A. Van Den Bussche. 2003. Molecular phylogenetics of the chiropteran family Vespertilionidae. Acta Chiropterologica 5 (supplement):1–63. Kunz, T.H. 1982. Lasionycteris noctivagans. Mammalian Species 172:1–5. Menu, H. 1984. Revision du statut de Pipistrellus subfl avus (f. Cuvier, 1832) Proposition d’un taxon generique nouveau : Perimyotis nov. gen. Mammalia 48:409– 416. Menzel, M.A., B.R. Chapman, W.M. Ford, J.M. Menzel, and J. Laerm. 2000. A review of the distribution and roosting ecology of bats in Georgia. Georgia Journal of Science 58:143–179. Menzel, J.M., M.A. Menzel, W.M. Ford, J.W. Edwards, S.R. Sheffield, J.C. Kilgo, and M.S. Bunch. 2003. The distribution of the bats of South Carolina. Southeastern Naturalist 2:121–152. Racey, P.A. 1988. Reproductive assessment in bats. Pp. 31–45, In T.H. Kunz (Ed.). Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington, DC. Wharton, C.H. 1978. The Natural Environments of Georgia. Georgia Department of Natural Resources Bulletin 114:1–227. Whitaker, J.O., and W.J. Hamilton. 1998. The Mammals of the Eastern United States. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca, NY. 432 pp. 2008 M.J. Bender and D. Parmley 625 Appendix I. Georgia College and State University museum specimens (GCM) of bats from Baldwin County, GA. Distances in kilometers (km) are in reference to the Milledgeville, GA Post Office. Abbreviations include: F = female, M = male, Ad = adult, and Juv = juvenile. Order of reporting is: km and compass direction, GPS; collection date, GCM catalog number, age, and sex (if known). Eptesicus fuscus – Total of 17 specimens. 14 km W, 33.05768ºN, 83.37483ºW; June18, 2004 : GCM 2244 Ad F, GCM 2245 Ad F, GCM 2246 Ad F, GCM 2247 Ad M, GCM 1931 Juv F. 6.9 km N, 33.14174ºN, 83.24289ºW; July 06, 2004: GCM 2248 Ad F, GCM 2249 Ad M, GCM 1930 Juv F. 3.4 km W, 33.10829ºN, 83.24286ºW; July 20, 2004: GCM 2250 Ad M. 5.8 km N, 33.13375ºN, 83.22460ºW; August 30, 2004: GCM 2251 Ad F, GCM 2252 Ad F, GCM 2253 Ad M. 9.5 km SW, 33.04188ºN, 83.31617ºW; September 10, 2004: GCM 2254 Ad. F, GCM 2255 Ad F. 6.4 km SE, 33.05145ºN, 83.16771ºW; September 18, 2004: GCM 2256 Ad M. 3.2 km N, 33.10817ºN, 83.21315ºW; October 11, 2004: GCM 2257 Ad F, GCM 2258 Ad M. Lasiurus borealis – Total of 14 specimens. 5.93 km E, 33.12292ºN, 83.18593ºW; July 31, 2004: GCM 2259 Ad M, GCM 2260 Ad M, September 28, 2004: GCM 2261 Ad F, GCM 2262 Ad F, GCM 2263 Ad F, GCM 2264 Ad M. 5.2 km E, 33.11894ºN, 83.19209ºW; August 01, 2004: GCM 2265 Ad F, GCM 2266 Ad M. 9.6 km E, 33.15821ºN, 83.27372ºW; September 23, 2004: GCM 2267 Ad M. 3.2 km N, 33.10817ºN, 83.21315ºW; October 11, 2004: GCM 2268 Ad F, GCM 2269 Ad M, GCM 1925 Ad M, October 28, 2004: GCM 2270 Juv M. 13.4 km W, 33.06230ºN, 83.36843ºW; October 27, 2004: GCM 2271 Ad M. Lasiurus seminolius – Total of 3 specimens. 5.9 km E, 33.12292ºN, 83.18593ºW; July 31, 2004: GCM 2272 Ad ?. 5.2 km E, 33.11894ºN, 83.19209ºW; July 30, 2004: GCM 1928 Ad M. 3.2 km N, 33.10817ºN, 83.21315ºW; October 11, 2004: GCM 1929 Ad F. Nycticeius humeralis – Total of 21 specimens. 0.3 km W, 33.08428ºN, 83.22718ºW; June 16, 2004: GCM 2273 Ad, GCM 2274 Juv ?. 3.4 km W; 33.10829ºN, 83.24286ºW; July 20, 2004: GCM 2275 Ad M, August 30, 2004: GCM 2276 Ad M. 0.6 km. S, 33.07829ºN, 83.23155ºW; February 22, 2005: GCM 2277 Ad F, February 25, 2005: GCM 2278 Ad. F. 0.6 km W, 33.07926ºN, 83.23194W; February 24, 2005: GCM 1932 Ad M. 9.6 km. E, 33.15821ºN, 83.27372ºW; July 13, 2004: GCM 2279 Ad F, GCM 2280 Ad F. 13.4 km W, 33.06230ºN, 83.36843ºW; July 17, 2004: GCM 2281 Ad F. 5.2 km E, 33.11894ºN, 83.19209ºW; July 30, 2004: GCM 2282 Ad F, August 01, 2004: GCM 2283 Ad F, GCM 2284 Ad M. 9.4 km SW, 33.04188Nº, 83.31617ºW; August 31, 2004: GCM 2285 Ad F, GCM 2286 Ad M, September 10, 2004: GCM 2287 Ad M, September 20, 2004: GCM 2288 Ad M, September 21, 2004: GCM 2289 Ad F. 6.4 km SE, 33.05145ºN, 83.16771ºW; September 26, 2004: GCM 2290 Ad M. 3.2 km N, 33.10817ºN, 83.21315ºW; October 11, 2004: GCM 2291 Ad F, October 28, 2004: GCM 2292 Ad F. Perimyotis subfl avus – Total of 16 specimens. 9.6 km E, 33.15821ºN, 83.27372ºW; July 07, 2004: GCM 2293 Ad F, July 15, 2004: GCM 2294 Ad M, GCM 2295 Juv F, GCM 2296 Ad M. 13.4 km W, 33.06230ºN, 83.36843ºW; July 17, 2004: GCM 2297 Ad F. 5.2 km E, 33.11894ºN, 83.19209ºW; July 30, 2004: GCM 1927 Juv F, GCM 2298 Juv M, August 01, 2004: GCM 2299 Ad F. 5.9 km E, 33.12292ºN, 83.18593ºW; 626 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 7, No. 4 September 28, 2004: GCM 2300 Ad ?. 9.4 km SW, 33.04188ºN, 83.31617ºW; August 31, 2004: GCM 2301 Ad ?, GCM 2302 Ad F, September 21, 2004: GCM 2303 Ad ?, GCM 2304 Ad F. 6.4 km SE, 33.05145ºN, 83.16771ºW; September 18, 2004: GCM 2305 Ad F. 3.2 km N, 33.10817ºN, 83.21315ºW; October 28, 2004: GCM 2306 Ad F, GCM 2307 Ad F. Myotis austroriparius –Total of one specimen. 0.6 km N, 33.13375ºN, 83.22460ºW; July 16, 2007: GCM 2308 Ad. M. Tadarida brasiliensis – Total of two specimens. 14.1 km W, 33.05768ºN, 83.37483ºW; June18, 2004: GCM 2309 Ad M. 6.9 km N, 33.14174ºN, 83.24289ºW; July 06, 2004: GCM 1926 Ad F.