Macrotus californicus, S. F. Baird, 1858

Don E. Wilson & Russell A. Mittermeier, 2019, Phyllostomidae, Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Volume 9 Bats, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 444-583 : 489

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Macrotus californicus


1. View Plate 35: Phyllostomidae

Californian Leat-nosed Bat

Macrotus californicus

French: Macrotus de Californie / German: Kalifornien-GroRohrblattnase / Spanish: Macroto de California

Taxonomy. Macrotus californicus S. F. Baird, 1858 ,

“Fort Yuma [Imperial Co.], California,” 1JSA.

For a long time, M. californicus was considered a subspecies of M. waterhousii . Monotypic.

Distribution. SW USA (S California, S Nevada, and Arizona) and NW Mexico (Baja California, Sonora, SW Chihuahua, and N Sinaloa). View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head-body 82-102 mm, tail 27-44 mm, ear 23-27 mm, hindfoot 11-18 mm, forearm 44-53 mm; weight 11-15 g. Compared with many phyllostomids, the Californian Leaf-nosed Bat is medium-sized, with long, dense fur. Pelage varies from grayish to brownish gray; bases of hairs are pale. Snoutis narrow but not elongated, with short noseleaf (4-6 mm), horseshoe fused below nostrils, and cleft lower lip. Ears are notably long,joined at bases with membrane over forehead. Tragus is longer than noseleaf. Tail is long, with most of its length enclosed by well-developed uropatagium, and its tip protrudes beyond edge of this membrane. Calcar is relatively long. With short broad wings, the Californian Leaf-nosed Bat can fly at low speeds using minimal energy. Because of this adaptation, it is not suited for long-distance travel and is non-migratory. Molars have distinctive (primitive) W-pattern. Dental formula is12/2,C1/1,P 2/3, M 3/3 (x2) = 34 for all species of Macrotus . Chromosomal complement has 2n = 40 or 46 and FN = 60, with 16 or 20 biarmed and 16 or 28 acrocentric autosomes. X-chromosome is medium-sized submetacentric, and Y-chromosome is minute acrocentric.

Habitat. Scrub habitats of Sonoran and Mojave deserts in the Colorado River Valley in southern California, Nevada, and Arizona and similar desert areas of western Mexico at elevations below 600 m (California) and up to ¢. 1300 m elsewhere.

Food and Feeding. Californian Leaf-nosed Bats mainly eat insects, especially Lepidoptera , Orthoptera , Coleoptera , and Odonata. Seeds have been found occasionally in feces. Many food items are insects that seldom fly, are flightless, or fly in the daytime, which provides strong evidence that it preys on insects that are on the ground or vegetation.

Breeding. The Californian Leaf-nosed Bat is considered polygynous and monoestrous, with delayed implantation. After breeding in autumn, embryos develop very slowly until March when growth continues at a more normal rate before birth in May-June. Twins are common.

Activity patterns. The Californian Leaf-nosed Bat is nocturnal, foraging 1-4 hours after sundown and then retiring to a night roosting place; in early morning, its greatest activity seems to occur between 2-5 hours and 30 minutes before sunrise. Flight is slow and highly maneuverable. It does not hibernate. It roosts exclusively in caves, deserted mine tunnels, and deep grottos, usually within 10-25 m of tunnel entrances, and it does not seem to require dark retreats. Coolness influences selection of roosts, particularly in hot summers.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. The Californian Leaf-nosed Bat forages in understories of riparian habitats, apparently moving no more than 10 km from roosts. During summer, most males form separate colonies close to female groups of ¢.100-500 individuals; however, a handful of dominant males stay within a female colony and maintain harems of 5-25 females and young.

Status and Conservation. Classified as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List. The Californian Leaf-nosed Bat is common and widely distributed.

Bibliography. Anderson (1969), Barlow &Tamsitt (1968), Davis & Baker (1974), Hatfield (1937), Nelson-Rees et al. (1968), Simmons (2005), Solari (2018a).














Macrotus californicus

Don E. Wilson & Russell A. Mittermeier 2019

Macrotus californicus

S. F. Baird 1858