Resource utilization by foraging eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) in the Ozark Region of Missouri

Sybill K. Amelon, Frank R. Thompson, Joshua J. Millspaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Resource selection by animals influences ecological processes such as dispersal, reproduction, foraging, and migration. Little information exists regarding foraging resource selection by bats during the maternity season. We evaluated support for effects of landcover type, landform, and landscape pattern on resource selection by individual foraging female eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) during the maternity period and compared resource utilization for all individuals pooled (population level), individuals grouped by geographic location, and individuals grouped by stage of lactation (early, mid, and late). We used a resource utilization function (RUF) to relate landcover and landscape attributes to the utilization distributions of individual bats estimated by the fixed-kernel method. We radio-tracked 64 lactating red bats and estimated utilization distributions for 52 individuals. Mean home range size ranged from 1,041 to 1,588ha from late to mid lactation. The global RUF model was significantly better than the null RUF model for 36 (70%) individuals and the magnitude and direction of coefficients varied among individuals. Resource utilization at the population level was, on average, positively related to ridges and upland drainage landforms, water landcover, and road density; and negatively related to urban and nonforest landcover and distance to edge. Resource use differed between geographic areas by canopy cover, water landcover, and road density. Canopy closure was positively related to RUF in both areas but was greater in the south area. Percent water negatively related to RUF in the north area and positively related in the south area. Road density had a positive relationship in the north and negative relationship in the south with RUF. We did not find a difference in mean RUF coefficients among lactation groups except for canopy cover. On average, canopy cover had a positive effect on use by bats during early and mid-lactation but a negative effect during late lactation. We suggest that management for red bats consider landscape components and provide a range of composition and structural diversity to enhance foraging use by red bats. In highly forested landscapes, gaps or openings may provide forest edges that are important for foraging and commuting. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-493
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Lasiurus borealis
  • eastern red bat
  • foraging
  • resource utilization distribution


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