|The Mammals of Texas -
Chiroptera : Family
Vespertilionidae : Myotis velifer (J. A. Allen)
Description. Largest of the Myotis
in Texas; hind foot large, more than half as long as
tibia; ear short, reaching to or slightly beyond nostril
when laid forward; upperparts uniform dull sepia;
underparts much paler, tips of hairs pale cream buff.
Dental formula as in M. californicus.
External measurements average: total length, 90 mm; tail,
40 mm; foot, 9 mm; forearm, 42 mm.
Distribution in Texas. Occurs over most
of western Texas, including South Texas, eastern portions
of the Panhandle, and north-central Texas.
Habits. This species is a
colonial, cave dwelling bat. They may also roost in rock
crevices, old buildings, carports, under bridges, and
even in abandoned cliff swallow nests. The cave myotis is
the most abundant bat of the Edwards Plateau and
hibernates in central Texas caves in winter. It also
hibernates in the gypsum caves of the Panhandle region.
The bats usually roost in clusters that may number into
the thousands. Other species occasionally found with the
cave myotis include big-eared bats (Plecotus),
bats (Tadarida), big brown bats (Eptesicus), Yuma myotis (Myotis), and ghost-faced bats (Mormoops). Although these bats may
roost at the same site as the cave myotis, the different
species usually segregate, with different bats inhabiting
separate areas or rooms of the roosting site.
These bats appear shortly after sunset.
They have been observed on several occasions coming into
pools of water and open tanks in the late evening to
drink. Their flight is fluttery and erratic, like that of
other species of Myotis.
Cave myotises are opportunistic
insectivores that feed on a wide variety of insects
depending upon what is most available on a given night.
Small moths make up the largest portion of the diet
although small beetles, weevils, and antlions are also
taken. Because of their larger size and stronger flight,
the cave myotis may be able to forage farther abroad than
other species of Myotis.
In Texas, females have been found with
embryos as early as mid-April. On the Edwards Plateau,
lactating females are frequently captured in May,
suggesting that birth of the single young occurs in early
Remarks. There are two
subspecies of this bat in Texas, and it is not clear
where, or if, they intermingle. The subspecies are M.
v. incautus in the south and M. v. magnamolaris
in the northwestern part of the state.
Photo credit: Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation