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More information on bats: 
Common Myths and Misconceptions 
Bat Biology 
Hibernation and Migration 
Reasons for Decline 
Bat Fact Sheet 
Bat Links 
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  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Introduction to Bats


Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)
USFWS photo

Bats may be the most misunderstood animals in the United States, although as consumers of enormous numbers of insects, they rank among the most beneficial. Almost all United States bats, and 70 percent of the bat species worldwide, feed almost exclusively on insects and are thus extremely beneficial. In fact, bats are the only major predators of night-flying insects. One bat can eat between 600 and 1,000 mosquitoes and other insect pests in just one hour (Organization for Bat Conservation).  

While most United States bat species are insectivorous, bats in other parts of the world feed on a variety of items in addition to insects. Many species feed primarily on fruit, while several types feed on nectar and pollen. Fruit bats perform an extremely important function as seed dispersers. Nectar eating bats, including the federally-listed endangered lesser long-nosed (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae) and greater Mexican long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris nivalis), are important pollinators. Many plant species depend almost entirely on bats for pollination.  

Of the 45 species of bats found in the continental United States, six are federally-listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. These species include the gray bat (Myotis grisescens), Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis),Ozark big-eared bat (Corynorhinus (=Plecotus) townsendii ingens), Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus (=Plecotus) townsendii virginianus) as well as the two long-nosed bats mentioned above. In addition to the listed continental U.S. species, the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus)(Hawaii), little Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus tokudae)(Guam) and Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus mariannus mariannus)(Guam), are also listed as endangered. Twenty other species are considered to be of special concern and may be proposed for listing as endangered or threatened in the future. Populations of several of the remaining species, especially cave-dwelling species, also appear to be declining.  


Information for this web site was taken almost exclusively from: 

Bats of the United States
Michael J. Harvey
Tennessee Technological University
J. Scott Atlenbach
University of New Mexico
Troy L. Best
Auburn University 

Published by
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission  

In Cooperation with the
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Asheville, North Carolina Field Office


Copies of this publication are available from the Service's Asheville, North Carolina Field Office (828) 258-3939  


Go to the Endangered Species Home Page  

Go to the US Fish and Wildlife Home Page  

Updated: August 29, 2000  



Uploaded: 2/21/2004