Cave Myotis (Myotis velifer)
- Myotis velifer is a large Myotis, with a forearm of 37‑47 mm. It can be distinguished from other large Myotis by the presence of a conspicuous bare patch on the back between the scapulae, and the absence of either a keel on the calcar or fringe on the interfemoral membrane.
- Life History
- Females give birth to one young per year in late April and May. Nursery colonies can contain up to 15,000 individuals, but colonies counting 1,000 - 5,000 bats are more common. Cave Myotis are also hibernating in caves in central and north-central Texas.
As its name implies, caves are the main roosts of this southwestern species, although it also uses mines, and occasionally buildings, bridges, and culverts. It is primarily a crevice dweller, preferring crevices, pockets, and holes in the ceilings of its underground retreats. This species is also known to roost in swallow nests.
Cave Myotis have been reported foraging over dense riparian vegetation and in drier desert washes. Dietary studies in Arizona, Kansas, and Mexico indicate that insects such as butterflies, moths, and beetles are typical prey.
- This species is found primarily at lower elevations (the Sonoran and Transition life zones) of the southwest, in areas dominated by creosote bush, palo verde, brittlebush, and cactus.
- The cave bat occurs from Kansas, Oklahoma and central Texas, to southern Nevada, and southeastern California (along the Colorado River only), south through Mexico to Honduras. At least some populations are migratory. In Texas, Cave Myotis occupy the High Plains, Rolling Plans, Trans-Pecos, Edwards Plateau, and South Texas Plains during the summer.
- Ongoing Recovery
- Bat-friendly gates can prevent human disturbance of roosting sites in caves and mines. However, when cave myotis are sharing a roost with Mexican free-tailed bats, gates should not be used, since they are not tolerated by Mexican free-tailed bats.
- We need information regarding status of historically identified colonies, trends in population numbers, more information on roosting and foraging requirements, and basic life history information.
For more information
Refer to the online version of The Mammals of Texas for additional details on the Cave Myotis.