Temporal patterns in capture rate and sex ratio of forest bats in Arkansas
We quantified changes in capture rates and sex ratios from May to Sept. for eight species of bats, derived from 8 y of extensive mist netting in forests of the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. Our primary goal was to determine patterns of relative abundance for each species of bat captured over forest streams and to determine if these patterns were similar to patterns of abundance found in other types of studies, including studies of bat mortality at wind turbines. We also wanted to discern regional patterns in sex ratios that have implications for seasonal distributions and migration. Capture rates for eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) were up to 25 times greater in Aug. and Sept. than in spring or early summer. Although not significant (P = 0.063), capture rates of hoary bats (L. cinereus) peaked in both late spring and late summer. Silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) were abundant in late spring and late summer but were absent during mid summer, suggesting they migrated from the area. Sex ratios of red bats were predominately male in late spring and late summer but were dominated by females in mid summer, possibly because of increased activity of lactating females during mid summer. Female Seminole bats (L. seminolus) were only captured after Aug. 1, suggesting a seasonal geographic separation of sexes. Our results suggest that patterns of bat abundance derived from mist netting over forest streams may be similar to patterns of bat fatalities at wind turbines, communication towers, aircraft strikes, roads and patterns derived from trapping at cave entrances for many species, but it is unclear why this pattern appears ubiquitous.