In Florida, there are 13 native bat species, and 7 “accidental” species that only have a few records of occurrence in the northern or southern extremes of the stateFlorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera; with their forelimbs adapted as wings, they are the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. Bats are more manoeuvrable than birds, flying with their very long spread-out digits covered with a thin membrane or patagium.
Information & Facts: Florida Bonneted Bat
The Bonneted Bat is the largest bat in Florida. Adults weigh 40–65 g (1.4–2.3 oz). Males and females are non-dimorphic in body mass. Forearm length is between 60 and 65 mm (2 3⁄8 and 2 1⁄2 in); Individual wing length is 108–115 mm (4 1⁄4–4 1⁄2 in), with male wings slightly longer and wider than female wings.
As a molossid, particularly from the genus Eumops, the bonneted bat has exceptionally high wing loading and aspect ratios. As a member of the free-tailed bat family, the tail extends far beyond the short uropatagium.
The short, glossy fur is brownish-gray to cinnamon-brown in color. The hairs are bicolored, with the base of the hair lighter than the tip. Some individuals have been observed with a white band across their abdomens that is variable in size. The ears of bonneted bats are large and forward-facing, their position giving the head a bonnetlike appearance. Their skulls have short, deep basisphenoid pits which aid in vocalization.
Bonneted bats are non-migratory, and unlike other temperate bat species, they do not have periods of hibernation.
The female bears a single pup. Pregnant females have been observed in April, June, July, August, and September. Juveniles have been observed in January, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.
Females are believed to be aseasonally polyestrous, meaning that they could breed and become pregnant at multiple times throughout the year. However, a population of bonneted bats in Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area has the highest rate of pregnancy in April, when 95% of adult females are pregnant, compared to 10% in August and 0% in December.
The Bonneted Bat roosts singly or colonially and may form harems. Many observed roosts have a strong female bias, with one harem containing twenty adult females and only one adult male.
Roosts usually have one dominant male, that can be identified from an open gular gland, the largest body mass, and the greatest testes length. Harems are maintained throughout the year, which is in contrast to other bats of the eastern US where social groupings are seasonally variable
The diet of the Bonneted Bat includes beetles, flies, and true bugs.