Summer Roost Tree Selection by Eastern Red, Seminole, and Evening Bats in the Upper Coast Plain of South Carolina

We radiotracked 6 eastern red (Lasiurus borealis), 6 Seminole (Lasiurus seminolus), and 24 evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis) to 55, 65, and 61 day-roosts, respectively, during summers 1996 and 1997 in the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina. For each species, we tested for differences between used roost trees and randomly located trees. We also tested for differences between habitat characteristics surrounding roost trees and randomly located trees. Eastern red and Seminole bats generally roosted in canopies of hardwood and pine (Pinus), respectively, clinging to foliage and small branches. Evening bats roosted in cavities or under exfoliating bark in pines and dead snags. Bats selected roost trees with larger dbh and greater height than randomly located trees. Habitat surrounding red bat roosts tended to have greater overstory height, greater basal area, greater woody understory diversity and evenness, greater overstory richness, diversity, and evenness, higher overstory canopy cover, and lower percent pine than randomly located plots. Habitat surrounding Seminole bat roosts had greater basal area, lower woody understory richness, and less Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) than randomly located plots. Habit surrounding evening bat roosts had fewer understory and overstory stems, greater overstory height, less overstory richness, lower overstory canopy cover, and more snags than randomly located plots. Forest management strategies that promote longer rotations, complex canopy structure, and snag formation should be beneficial for providing eastern red, Seminole, and evening bats with roosts in the Upper Coastal Plain.

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