Hawaiian hoary bat

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Hawaiian hoary bat
Lasiurus cinereus semotus crop.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
Genus: Lasiurus
Species: L. cinereus
Subspecies: L. cinereus semotus
Trinomial name
Lasiurus cinereus semotus
(H.Allen, 1890)

The Hawaiian hoary bat or ʻōpeʻapeʻa (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) is a subspecies of the hoary bat (family Vespertilionidae) that is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. While the hoary bat is the most widespread bat in the continental United States,[2] this subspecies is the only land mammal that is endemic to the islands.[3] It is a federally listed endangered taxon of the United States.

Description[edit]

The common name of the hoary bat was inspired by the hoary or "frosty" appearance of its fur, which is brown but frosted white on its back. The Hawaiian name, ʻōpeʻapeʻa ("half-leaf"), refers to the outline of the bat's body, which is shaped like half a taro leaf.[3] The Hawaiian hoary bat weighs 14 to 18 grams, or about half an ounce. The female is larger than the male, with a wingspan of approximately 10.5 to 13.5 in (27 to 34 cm). It is a nocturnal insectivore.[4]

Habitat and range[edit]

The fossil record indicates that the Hawaiian hoary bat was once present on the islands of Hawaiʻi, Molokaʻi, Maui, Oʻahu, and Kauaʻi, but documented breeding currently only takes place on Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi. The complete extirpation of the bat from Oʻahu may have been caused by habitat loss as the human population grew in the 19th century,[5] and possibly hastened by pesticide use.[6]

Conservation[edit]

In 1970, the Hawaiian hoary bat was listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969,[7] which was later replaced by the Endangered Species Act of 1973.[8] Under section 3 of the Act, an "endangered species" is any species or subspecies that is "in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range." The exact number of Hawaiian hoary bats is unknown, and the addition of the subspecies to the list seems to have been precautionary.[9]

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has approved a recovery plan for the Hawaiian hoary bat. The goal is to move the bat from endangered to threatened status.[6]

Relatively little is known about the life history of the subspecies and more research is needed. According to the recovery plan, populations of the bat must increase for at least five consecutive years on all islands where it is present before it can be downlisted.[6] A promising method of estimating the population is to monitor the bats' echolocation calls. Because this is the only bat in Hawaii, any bat echolocation signals heard and recorded can be assumed to come from this subspecies,[10] and it is a monitoring method that does not interfere with the animal.[11]

Surveys indicate that the bat is opportunistic and can forage over many habitat types, including native and non-native vegetation and the open ocean.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lasiurus cinereus semotus. Environmental Conservation Online System. United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
  2. ^ Shump, K. A. and A. U. Shump. (1982). Lasiurus cinereus. Mammalian Species 185, 1-5.
  3. ^ a b c Frasher, H. R., et al. (2007). Hawaiian hoary bat inventory in national parks on the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Molokai. Technical Report 140. Pacific Coopertive Studies Unit. University of Hawaii at Mānoa.
  4. ^ Lasirus cinereus semotus. Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands. USFWS Pacific. 2012.
  5. ^ Tomich, P. Q. Mammals in Hawaii (2nd edition). Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press. 1986.
  6. ^ a b c Recovery Plan for the Hawaiian Hoary Bat. USFWS. May 11, 1998.
  7. ^ Appendix D: United States List of Endangered Native Fish and Wildlife. Federal Register 35: 16047-48. October 13, 1970.
  8. ^ http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/SpeciesReport.do?spcode=A03W Species Profile
  9. ^ Fullard, J. H. (1989). `Ope`ape`a: Hawaii's elusive native bat. Bats Magazine 7(3), 10-13.
  10. ^ Fenton, M. B., et al. (1994). Bats and raptors: threats and opportunities. Animal Behaviour 48(1), 9-18.
  11. ^ Fullard, J. H. (1989). Echolocation survey of the distribution of the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) on the island of Kaua'i. Journal of Mammalogy 70(2), 424-26.