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Bats make social alliances that affect roosting behavior
Date:6/17/2014

ed with roost deterioration. In 2009, the colony may have been scattered, seeking a suitable primary roost, following abandonment of a primary roost the previous year. Then in 2010, the colony concentrated roosting activity in the proximity of the new, most suitable roost.

"There is evidence that the colony was using a different primary roost two years prior to our study," they wrote. "In areas with greater amounts of forest or roosting resources, bats may not need to disperse as far in search of new roosts allowing a more stable roosting area."

"We happened to catch the bats at a time when a tree probably became 'ideal,'" said Kniowski.

"Indiana bats do not select the most stable environment for their roosts," said Silvis, "which makes it all the more critical that we understand their social dynamics and how to manage the conditions of their habitats."

The team also observed greater foraging area overlap than expected, "which does not necessarily equate to association, and further may be an artifact of the location of the highest quality foraging habitat," they cautiously noted. "However, a high level of overlap should be positively related to the potential for association."

They optimistically suggest, that in cases of roost loss, "foraging area overlap supports the idea that social connections could be re-established during foraging bouts."

"The study highlights a level of complexity in both roost and roosting area use that has not been previously described and raises questions about the resiliency of Indiana bats to roost loss," said Ford.

"Identifying the similarities and differences in colony structure across an array of geographic locations and habitat configurations would provide insight into the biological and ecological factors influencing colony behavior," Ford continued. "However, reductions in population size due to white-nose syndrome, a disease that has significantly impacted the Indiana b
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Contact: Lynn Davis
davisl@vt.edu
540-231-6157
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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