Lasiurus blossevillii (Lesson and Garnot),

Simmons, Nancy B. & Voss, Robert S., 1998, The mammals of Paracou, French Guiana, a Neotropical lowland rainforest fauna. Part 1, Bats, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 237, pp. 1-219: 141-142

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Lasiurus blossevillii (Lesson and Garnot)


Lasiurus blossevillii (Lesson and Garnot) 

VOUCHER MATERIAL: 1 female (MNHN *1995.936) and 1 male (AMNH *267533); see table 56 for measurements. 

IDENTIFICATION: Characters and measurements necessary for unambiguous identification of Lasiurus blossevillii  were given by Handley (1960, 1996). Husson (1962, 1978) provided a detailed description of Surinamese specimens of this taxon under the name L. borealis frantzii  . Lasiurus blossevillii  was considered to represent a subspecies of L. bo­ realis by most workers (e.g., Handley, 1960; Goodwin and Greenhall, 1961) until the publication of morphometric and allozyme data on Lasiurus  by Schmidly and Hendricks (1984) and Baker et al. (1988). Based on morphological and allelic traits, Baker et al. restricted L. borealis  to eastern North American populations and proposed use of L. blossevillii  for populations from western North America, Central America, and South America. As thus defined, L. blossevillii  contains several mainland subspecies: L. b. teliotis (southeastern Canada to southcentral Mexico), L. b. frantzii (southern Mexico to Amazonian Brazil, including Trinidad and Tobago), L. b. blossevillii  (eastern Brazil to northern Argentina), and L. b. varius (Chile and southern Argentina) (ranges from Koopman, 1994).

Morales and Bickham (1995) analyzed mitochondrial rDNA restriction site data from more than 50 individuals of Lasiurus  and found compelling evidence for the separation of L. borealis  and L. blossevillii  at the species level. Within L. blossevillii  , they demonstrated very strong support (bootstrap values of 100%) for a clade including specimens from Argentina, Bolivia, and Guyana, and for a second clade comprising specimens from Mexico and Belize. Interestingly, specimens identified as teliotus from Mexico and as frantzii from Belize were found to have identical haplotypes. On this basis, Morales and Bickham suggested that frantzii and te­ liotus should be synonymized as subspecies (of these, frantzii Peters is the oldest name). However, Morales and Bickham did not address the morphological characters of teliotus and frantzii, nor did their biochemical comparisons include any material from Costa Rica, the type locality of frantzii.

Problems also remain with the South American forms of Lasiurus blossevillii  . Specimens from Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Surinam, and Brazil have traditionally been referred to frantzii on morphological grounds ( Handley, 1960; Goodwin and Greenhall, 1961; Husson, 1962, 1978; Koopman, 1994), yet the rDNA data of Morales and Bickham (1995) unambiguously place a specimen from Guyana in a clade with Argentinian and Bolivian specimens referable to the nominate subspecies L. b. blossevillii  . Thus, the rDNA data suggest that at least two species may be present in the L. blossevillii  complex, a northern form in northern Central America, and a southern form that  extends at least as far north as the Guianas. However, rDNA data are not available from populations in intervening regions, and patterns of morphological variation have yet to be analyzed. A thorough revision of the Neotropical red bats is clearly needed to resolve species and subspecies limits within this group.

Our material from Paracou conforms to previous descriptions of Lasiurus blossevillii  from the Guianan region ( Husson, 1962, 1978; Handley, 1996), although measurements in some dimensions fall slightly outside the reported range of variation (e.g., greatest length of skull, smaller in our specimens).

FIELD OBSERVATIONS: One of our two individuals of Lasiurus blossevillii  was caught in a ground­level mistnet over a roadside puddle, and the other was taken in a net suspended 10–13 m over a narrow dirt road.