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Conservation Biology of the Cave Bats of Mexico

Héctor T. Arita
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 74, No. 3 (Aug., 1993), pp. 693-702
DOI: 10.2307/1382291
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1382291
Page Count: 10
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Conservation Biology of the Cave Bats of Mexico
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Abstract

The available information on use of caves by Mexican bats was examined to determine the effectiveness of a conservation strategy based on diversity. Diversity was estimated by species richness, or the number of bat species present in a cave. Sixty of the 134 Mexican species of bats regularly roost in caves. Seventeen of these species tend to roost in caves with low species richness (segregationists), 14 tend to roost in caves with high species richness (integrationists), and 29 show no tendency in terms of the species richness of the caves (indifferent). Of the 215 caves included in this study, 80% support few (three or less) species, whereas only 10% harbor six or more species. In general, species that share caves with many species form small or medium-sized colonies, and there is no positive correlation between species richness and total number of individuals in the caves. Few of the fragile and vulnerable species of Mexican bats roost in caves with high species richness or with large populations. A conservation plan based solely on diversity is not adequate for the protection of cave bats in Mexico.

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