Leptonycteris yerbabuenae 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Phyllostomidae

Scientific Name: Leptonycteris yerbabuenae
Species Authority: Martínez & Villa-R, 1940
Common Name(s):
English Lesser Long-nosed Bat
Taxonomic Notes: Formerly it was treated as a subspecies of L. curasoae (see Simmons, 2005). Arita and Humphrey (1988) determined that sanborni is a junior synonym of yerbabuenae and that yerbabuenae is a subspecies of L. curasoae. Koopman (in Wilson and Reeder 1993) used the name L. curasoae for the species occurring in the southwestern United States. Simmons (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) cited references supporting her listing of L. curasoae and L. yerbabuenae as distinct species; the latter species is the one occurring in the United States.

Prior to 1962 specimens of what was then known as L. sanborni were reported as L. nivalis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Arroyo-Cabrales, J., Miller, B., Reid, F., Cuarón, A.D. & de Grammont, P.C.
Reviewer(s): Medellín, R. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Vulnerable because of a population decline, estimated to be >30% over the last 10 years, inferred from over-exploitation, shrinkage in distribution, and habitat destruction and degradation.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known from central California (Constantine 1998), southern Arizona, and New Mexico (USA) to Honduras and El Salvador (Simmons, 2005). It occurs from lowlands to 2,600 m (usually below 1,800 m) (Reid, 1997).
Countries occurrence:
El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; United States
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2600
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is generally uncommon (Reid, 1997). This species is represented by a large number of occurrences or subpopulations. Arita (1991) mapped well over 100 collection sites in Mexico. Arita and Humphrey (1988) reported 269 historical and currently occupied localities in Mexico. Total adult population size is unknown but exceeds 100,000. A single roost in northern Mexico supports probably more than 100,000 individuals. This species is widespread and abundant in Mexico (Arita and Prado 1999). See Cockrum and Petryszyn (1991) for historical and recent population estimates for several sites in Arizona (no decline is evident) and Sonora.
Cockrum and Petryszyn (1991) strongly disputed the reported decline of this species and, in reviewing pertinent data, concluded that little evidence exists to document a long-term decline in Arizona, New Mexico, and Sonora; these authors stated "the various recent reports of disappearance appear to be, at least in part, the result of not looking in the right places at the right times" and further reported that "current populations...are little, if any, decreased from those of a quarter century ago. It even has been suggested that populations have increased in the past century because of more suitable roosts being available as a result of mining activity in the area."
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in thorn scrub and deciduous forest. Its range corresponds closely to the distribution of the mezcal plant (Agave angustifolia) in Mexico (Arita, 1991). This bat roosts in caves and mines, often in colonies of several thousand. It emerges about an hour after sunset to feed on nectar and pollen of agaves and saguaro cactus in Arizona. It lands on the flowers or may hover for short periods to feed. Plant species visited in central Mexico are similar to those for L. nivalis. Some fruit and insects are also taken. Night roosts, including buildings, are used after feeding (Reid, 1997). Northern population migrate south in September and return in May. Young are born in May to June in large maternity colonies (Barbour and Davis, 1969).
Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size likely are stable or declining at a rate of less than 10 percent over 10 years or three generations.
The habitat in Mexico is primarily tropical deciduous forest and thorn forest (Arita 1991). In the United States, this bat roosts in old mines and caves at the base of mountains near alluvial fans vegetated with agave, yucca, saguaro, and organ pipe cactus (Barbour and Davis 1969). Young are born in maternity colonies in caves and mines.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): USFWS (1987, 1989) stated that the species was threatened by disturbance of roosts, loss of food sources through land clearing and human exploitation, and direct killing by humans. Overall, however, this species does not appear to be very threatened. Habitat loss, cave issues, as mining and recreation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Avoid habitat loss. In Mexico is listed as threatened under NOM - 059 - SEMARNAT - 2001. Also is listed as priority for conservation (Arroyo-Cabrales pers. comm.). USFWS list the species as endangered.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
suitability: Suitable  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan

Bibliography [top]

Arita, H. 1991. Spatial segregation in long-nosed bats Leptonysteris nivalis and Leptonycteris curasoae in Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy 72(4): 706-714.

Arita, H.T. and Humphrey, S.R. 1988. Revision taxonomica de los murcielagos magueyeros del genero Leptonycteris (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). Acta Zoologica Mexicana 29: 1–60.

Arita, H.T. and Santos-del-Prado, K. 1999. Conservation biology of nectar-feeding bats in Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy 80: 31–41.

Barbour, R.W. and Davis, W.H. 1969. Bats of America. The University of Kentucky Press, Lexington, Kentucky.

Cockrum, E.L. and Petryszyn, Y. 1991. The long-nosed bat, Leptonycteris: an endangered species in the southwest? Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University 142: 1–32.

Constantine, D. G. 1998. Range extensions of ten species of bats in California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science 97: 49–75.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Koopman, K.F. 1993. Order Chiroptera. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference, pp. 137–241. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C., USA.

Reid, F. 2009. A field guide to the mammals of Central America and southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.

Simmons, N.B. 2005. Order Chiroptera. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 312-529. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Citation: Arroyo-Cabrales, J., Miller, B., Reid, F., Cuarón, A.D. & de Grammont, P.C. 2008. Leptonycteris yerbabuenae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T136659A4324321. . Downloaded on 25 June 2016.
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