Florida Bonneted Bat: Eumops Floridanus
The Florida bonneted bat, is a member of the Molossidae family. The species is Florida’s largest bat, but it is believed to be extremely rare, occurring only in a handful of southern Florida counties. It has one of the most restrictive ranges of any bat species in the U.S. and lives in a 25-100 square mile radius.
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Description Of The Florida Bonneted Bat
Within the order Chiroptera, the Florida bonneted bat, is a member of the Molossidae family. The species is Florida’s largest bat. In size, males and females are not significantly different, and there is no pattern of geographical variation related to size in this species.
The genus Eumops members have large rounded pinnae (external part of the ear) arising from a single point or joined on the forehead in a medium position. At the midline of the head, the ears are joined. This feature distinguishes the Florida bonneted bat from the smaller Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis), along with its large size.
Among the smallest of all molossids, Eumops are well-adapted for fast, prolonged flight. In open areas, this wing structure is conducive to high-speed flight.
The Florida bonneted bat’s fur is short and glossy, with sharply bi-colored hair and a white base. The color is highly variable, like other molossids, ranging from black to brown to brownish-gray or cinnamon brown with a paler ventral pelage (fur) than the dorsal one. 1Go To Source ecos.fws.gov -“Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus)”
Florida Bonneted Bat Behavior
Little is known about this species’ habitat and roosting needs. In a wide variety of habitats, this species forages, including pine rocklands, mangroves, flatwoods, and residential/suburban areas. There are very few known roost sites today. Most known roosts occur in bat boxes specifically designed for this large species. They were found in an abandoned red-cockaded woodpecker cavity and an abandoned house in the heart of Miami.
This bat relies on a year-round supply of prey because this species does not hibernate. Florida bonnet bats, including beetles, flies, and other bugs, are known to feed on flying insects. Florida bonneted bats are capable of taking flight from the ground, like other species of this genus, allowing for the possibility that they may also prey on species of ground insects.
Florida bonneted bats are capable flyers that often avoid being caught during research surveys. The majority of detections are acoustic for this species. Scientists believe that the remaining Florida bonified bats are less than 1,000, and the IUCN Red List has classified the species as Critically Endangered primarily due to these low numbers and their highly restricted habitat range. 2Go To Source batcon.org -“FLORIDA BONNETED BAT”
Reproduction Habits Of The Florida Bonneted Bat
The Florida bonneted bat, like many bats, is believed only to give birth to one offspring per breeding season. However, the female can go into heat many times during the year, unlike other North American bat species. Each year, Florida bonneted bats may have two breeding seasons; their reproduction during the summer and the winter has been documented.
Florida Bonneted Bat Habitat
Florida bonneted bats are considered to be extremely rare, occurring only in a handful of southern Florida counties, and have one of the most restrictive ranges of any bat species in the U.S. Only a few bonneted bat nursery roosts have been documented to date.
The Florida Bonneted bat species have been seen foraging in a variety of habitats, including tropical hardwood, pineland, and mangrove forests, as well as human-made areas such as golf courses and neighborhoods. In that one male will roost with several distinct females at one time, they are thought to have unusual roosting habits. 3Go To Source myfwc.com -“Florida Bonneted Bat Eumops floridanus”
Range Of The Florida Bonneted Bat
Only in Florida does the Florida bonneted bat exist. This species has one of the most limited distributions in the New World of any bat species, and it is estimated that its global range is less than 38-100 square miles.
In Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, and Polk Counties, its current range includes 12 locations. Surveys conducted at two locations in the Kissimmee River area by the FWC recorded Florida bonneted bat calls. The Kissimmee River results are significant because, except in fossil records, it is the first time the species has been found north of Lake Okeechobee and effectively moves the known range 50 miles north. 4Go To Source nrc.gov -“U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE SPECIES ASSESSMENT AND LISTING PRIORITY ASSIGNMENT FORM”
Florida Bonneted Bat Diet
The Florida bonneted bat is an insectivore mammal. They typically feed on insects near a body of water. Insects such as beetles, flies, and real bugs make up this species’ diet.
Threats To The Florida Bonneted Bat Species
The Florida bonneted bat is at risk to a broad array of natural and human-related threats due to its minimal range and low population numbers. Loss of habitat, degradation, and modification from human population growth are significant threats, and the limited range of the species is expected to be further reduced.
The impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise and coastal squeeze, are expected to become severe in the future, resulting in additional habitat loss, including loss of roost sites and habitat foraging sites.
Its vulnerability is also due to small population size, limited range, few colonies, slow reproduction, low fertility, and relative isolation. The species can also be affected by other factors, such as removing buildings or artificial structures used as roost sites, removing roost trees, the impacts of large or intense hurricanes, and multi-source pesticides contaminants affecting both bat and prey insects. This bat species is also affected by native animals for roosting locations and predation. 5Go To Source nps.gov -“Florida Bonneted Bat”
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumops Floridanus) | Fish and Wildlife Service.” U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=A0JB. Accessed 11 Jan. 2021.
- Bat Conservation International. “Florida Bonneted Bat.” Bat Conservation International, 15 Apr. 2020, www.batcon.org/article/florida-bonneted-bat.
- FWC. “Florida Bonneted Bat.” Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission, myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/mammals/land/florida-bonneted-bat. Accessed 11 Jan. 2021.
- “U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE SPECIES ASSESSMENT AND LISTING PRIORITY ASSIGNMENT FORM.” United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1219/ML12193A530.pdf. Accessed 11 Jan. 2021.
- “Florida Bonneted Bat – Everglades National Park (U.S. National Park Service).” National Park Service, U.S. Department Of The Interior, www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/flbonnetedbat.htm. Accessed 11 Jan. 2021.