Bat Species and Habitat Use in the Trans-Pecos of Texas
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Understanding species-environmental relationships are crucial to predictive ecological modeling; however, there have been limited studies of these relationships in bats. I examined relationships between bat species and habitat and elevation at Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Brewster County, Texas. Mist netting was conducted July 2010-July 2011. Data collection sites were located over an elevational gradient of 610 m in 3 distinct habitat types: desert flats surrounding the mountain, slopes and canyons of Elephant Mountain, and desert grassland on top of the mountain. A total of 9 bat species were captured during a total of 560 netting hours. Most bats emit an ultrasonic call while foraging. Recording these calls allowed me to survey areas in which mist nets could not be used. I recorded over 9,894 echolocation calls of 18 bat species at 13 sites from June 2011-July 2011. I found no difference in bat captures over the elevational range. Additionally, no difference was found in captures between the seasons sampled. From 2010 to 2011 only two sites retained water. There was an increase in captures at one of the two sites in 2011. My research illustrates the importance of using acoustic and mist net sampling to better document the occurrence of bat species in a given area.