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Eastern red bat

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Eastern red bat
The image depicts an eastern red bat, recently captured by a researcher
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
Genus: Lasiurus
L. borealis
Binomial name
Lasiurus borealis
Müller, 1776
Range (note: map erroneously shows the species to be present in Cuba.)
  • Vespertilio borealis Müller, 1776
  • Vespertilio noveboracensis Erxleben, 1777
  • Vespertilio lasiurus Schreber, 1781
  • Vespertilio rubellus Palisot de Beauvois, 1796
  • Vespertilio rubra Ord, 1815
  • Vespertilio tesselatus Rafinesque, 1818
  • Vespertilio monachus Rafinesque, 1818
  • Vespertilio rufus Warden, 1820
  • Lasiurus funebris Fitzinger, 1870
  • Myotis quebecensis Yourans, 1930

The eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) is a species of microbat in the family Vespertilionidae. Eastern red bats are widespread across eastern North America, with additional records in Bermuda.

Taxonomy and etymology[edit]

Relationship of L. borealis within Lasiurus, based on an analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.[2]

It was described in 1776 by German zoologist Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller. He initially placed it in the genus Vespertilio,[a] with the name Vespertilio borealis.[4] It was not placed into its current genus Lasiurus until the creation of the genus in 1831 by John Edward Gray.[5] The generic name "Lasiurus" is derived from the Greek lasios ("hairy") and oura ("tail"); its species name "borealis" is Latin in origin, meaning "northern."[6][7] Of the species in its genus, the eastern red bat is most closely related to other red bats, with which they form a monophyly. Its closest relatives are the Pfeiffer's red bat (Lasiurus pfeifferi), Seminole bat (L. seminolus), cinnamon red bat (L. varius), desert red bat (L. blossevillii), saline red bat (L. salinae), and the greater red bat (L. atratus).[8]


The eastern red bat has distinctive fur, with males being brick or rusty red, and females being a slightly more frosted shade of red.[9][10] Both male and female eastern red bats have distinctive shoulder patches of white fur.[10] Individual hairs on its back are approximately 5.8 mm (0.23 in), while hairs on its uropatagium are 2.6 mm (0.10 in) long. Fur on its ventral surface is usually lighter in color. Its entire body is densely furred, including its uropatagium. It is a medium-sized member of its genus, weighing 7–13 g (0.25–0.46 oz) and measuring 109 mm (4.3 in) from head to tail. Its ears are short and rounded, with triangular tragi. Its wings are long and pointed. Its tail is long, at 52.7 mm (2.07 in) long. Its forearm is approximately 40.6 mm (1.60 in) long. Its dental formula is, for a total of 32 teeth.[5]

Biology and ecology[edit]

The aspect ratio and wing loading of eastern red bat wings indicates that they fly relatively quickly and are moderately maneuverable.[5] Eastern red bats are insectivorous, preying heavily on moths, with other insect taxa also consumed. They consume known pests, including gypsy moths, tent caterpillar moths, Cydia moths, Acrobasis moths, cutworm moths, and coneworm moths.[11]

Reproduction and life expectancy[edit]

The image depicts a female bat hanging upside down from a cloth. Three small bat babies cling to the female.
Female with three pups.

Eastern red bat breeding season starts in the autumn,[12] and multiple males can sire a single litter.[13] Pups are born in the summer,[12] usually sometime between May and July.[14] Unlike other bats species who usually produce one pup, eastern red bats have on average three pups at a time, and some eastern red bats have given birth to as many as five pups.[15] Females have four nipples, which allows them to nourish multiple offspring at once. Eastern red bat pups learn to fly about a month after being born, after which they are weaned.[12] Even after the pups have learned how to fly, they remain with their mother for a while before roosting on their own.[14]

Eastern red bats are often attacked and killed by hawks and owls, or aggressive species like blue jays and crows; the former animal in particular serves as a major predator for bats hiding in leaf piles. Eastern red bats are also killed by flying into cars, tall human-made structures, or wind turbines. Allen Kurta argues that the lifespan for an eastern red bat is about two years, although they can probably live even longer.[15]

Range and habitat[edit]

The eastern red bat is widely distributed in eastern North America and Bermuda.[16] It generally occurs east of the Continental Divide, including southern Canada and northeastern Mexico. In the winter, it occurs in the southeastern United States and northeastern Mexico, with greatest concentrations in coastal areas. In the spring and summer, it can be found in the Great Lakes region and the Great Plains region. Unlike the closely related hoary bat, males and females have the same geographic range throughout the year.[17] Formerly, some authors included the western United States, Central America, and the northern part of South America in its range,[5] but these populations have since been reassigned to the desert red bat, Lasiurus blossevillii.[16]


The eastern red bat is evaluated as least concern by the IUCN, the lowest-priority conservation category. It meets the criteria for this designation because it has a wide geographic range, large population size, it occurs in protected areas, it tolerates some habitat disturbance, and its population size is unlikely to be declining rapidly.[1]

Eastern red bats and other migratory tree bats are vulnerable to death by wind turbines via barotrauma.[18] The eastern red bat has the second-greatest mortality from wind turbines, with hoary bats most affected.[19]

While eastern red bats have been documented carrying the spores of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, no individuals have been observed with clinical symptoms of the disease.[20]

See also[edit]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ When first described in 1758, Vespertilio was equivalent to the modern taxonomic order Chiroptera.[3]


  1. ^ a b Arroyo-Cabrales, J.; Miller, B.; Reid, F.; Cuarón, A.D.; de Grammont, P.C. (2016). "Lasiurus borealis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T11347A22121017. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T11347A22121017.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ Baird, Amy B.; Braun, Janet K.; Engstrom, Mark D.; Holbert, Ashlyn C.; Huerta, Maritza G.; Lim, Burton K.; Mares, Michael A.; Patton, John C.; Bickham, John W. (2017). "Nuclear and mtDNA phylogenetic analyses clarify the evolutionary history of two species of native Hawaiian bats and the taxonomy of Lasiurini (Mammalia: Chiroptera)". PLOS ONE. 12 (10): e0186085. Bibcode:2017PLoSO..1286085B. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186085. PMC 5636129. PMID 29020097.
  3. ^ Hutcheon, James M.; Kirsch, John A. W. (2006). "A moveable face: Deconstructing the Microchiroptera and a new classification of extant bats". Acta Chiropterologica. 8: 8. doi:10.3161/1733-5329(2006)8[1:AMFDTM]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 1733-5329. S2CID 85948117.
  4. ^ Müller, P.L.S (1776). Des Ritters Carl von Linné vollständiges Natursystem: nach der zwölften lateinischen Ausgabe, und nach Anleitung des holländischen Houttuynischen Werks. Vol. 1. Gabriel Nicolaus Raspe. p. 20.
  5. ^ a b c d Shump, K. A.; Shump, A. U. (1982). "Lasiurus borealis". Mammalian Species (183): 1–6. doi:10.2307/3503843. JSTOR 3503843.
  6. ^ Maser, Chris; Mate, Bruce R.; Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. (1981). Natural History of Oregon Coast Mammals. Portland, OR: Bureau of Land Management, United States Department of the Interior. p. 108.
  7. ^ Yonge, Charles Duke (1855). A Phraseology English-Latin Dictionary. London, UK: Richard Bentley. p. 320.
  8. ^ Baird, A. B.; Braun, J. K.; Mares, M. A.; Morales, J. C.; Patton, J. C.; Tran, C. Q.; Bickham, J. W. (2015). "Molecular systematic revision of tree bats (Lasiurini): doubling the native mammals of the Hawaiian Islands". Journal of Mammalogy. 96 (6): 1255–1274. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyv135.
  9. ^ Menzel, Michael; Manzel, Jennifer; Kilgo, John; Ford, W. Mark; Carter, Timothy C.; Edwards, John W. (2003). Bats of the Savannah River Site and Vicinity. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. p. 29.
  10. ^ a b Whitaker, John O.; Hamilton, William John (1998). Mammals of the Eastern United States. Cornell University Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8014-3475-4.
  11. ^ Clare, E. L.; Fraser, E. E.; Braid, H. E.; Fenton, M. B.; Hebert, P. D. (2009). "Species on the menu of a generalist predator, the eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis): using a molecular approach to detect arthropod prey". Molecular Ecology. 18 (11): 2532–2542. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04184.x. PMID 19457192. S2CID 3940026.
  12. ^ a b c "Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  13. ^ Schmidly, David J.; Bradley, Robert D. (2016). "Eastern Red Bat". The Mammals of Texas (7th ed.). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. pp. 181–183. ISBN 9781477310038.
  14. ^ a b Davis, W.B. (1994). "Eastern Red Bat". The Mammals of Texas - Online Edition. Texas Tech University. Archived from the original on November 22, 2007.
  15. ^ a b Kurta, Allen (2017). "Eastern Red Bats". Mammals of the Great Lakes Region (3rd ed.). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. pp. 74–77. ISBN 9780472053452.
  16. ^ a b Simmons, N. B. (2005). "Genus Lasiurus". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 458–459. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  17. ^ Cryan, P. M. (2003). "Seasonal distribution of migratory tree bats (Lasiurus and Lasionycteris) in North America". Journal of Mammalogy. 84 (2): 579–593. doi:10.1644/1545-1542(2003)084<0579:SDOMTB>2.0.CO;2.
  18. ^ Cryan, P. M.; Brown, A. C. (2007). "Migration of bats past a remote island offers clues toward the problem of bat fatalities at wind turbines". Biological Conservation. 139 (1): 1–11. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.05.019.
  19. ^ Kunz, T. H.; Arnett, E. B.; Erickson, W. P.; Hoar, A. R.; Johnson, G. D.; Larkin, R. P.; Strickland, M. D.; Thresher, R. W.; Tuttle, M. D. (2007). "Ecological impacts of wind energy development on bats: questions, research needs, and hypotheses". Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 5 (6): 315–324. doi:10.1890/1540-9295(2007)5[315:EIOWED]2.0.CO;2.
  20. ^ "Bats affected by WNS". White-Nose Syndrome.org. US Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2017-12-12.

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