Master's Theses

Date of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Dr. Elmer J. Finck

Abstract

My study focuses on six bat species that occur in north-central Kansas. Although each species is widely distributed, information about their diet and activity patterns is lacking, especially within Kansas. Increased knowledge about bat species in Kansas can provide a baseline for future studies and conservation efforts for the species included in my study; big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis), hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis), evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis), and tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) were captured and fecal samples were examined for diet diversity. I captured bats in mist nets in the Kansas counties of Ellis, Rooks, and Trego from April through October of 2015 and 2016, when temperate bats are most active. Each captured bat was detained to collect a comprehensive fecal sample, which was used to determine diet. I captured 272 bats during 2015, from which 217 fecal samples were collected and captured 333 bats during 2016, of which 241 produced samples. Within the fecal samples, 6 orders of insect were identified: Coleoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, and Orthoptera. Results showed significant differences in diet between bat species within the state of Kansas, specifically between big brown bat and eastern red bat and between eastern red bat and evening bat for consumption of coleopterans. Big brown bat consumed more coleopterans and eastern red bat consumed more lepidopterans. Significant differences also occurred between eastern red bat and evening bat for consumption of lepidopterans, with eastern red bat consuming more lepidopterans. Activity patterns significantly differed between bat species, specifically between big brown and eastern red bats and between big brown and evening bats. Big brown bat was most often captured at an average of 2.45 hours after sunset, evening bat at an average of 1.67, and eastern red at an average of 1.66 hours after sunset. Sample sizes for both hoary bat and northern myotis were too low to draw firm conclusions relative to prey in their diets. All bat species peaked in activity between 1 and 3 hours after sunset.

Rights

Copyright 2017 Holly G. Wilson

Comments

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Biology Commons

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