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Food of the Big Brown Bat Eptesicus fuscus from Maternity Colonies in Indiana and Illinois

John O. Whitaker, Jr.
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 134, No. 2 (Oct., 1995), pp. 346-360
DOI: 10.2307/2426304
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2426304
Page Count: 15
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Food of the Big Brown Bat Eptesicus fuscus from Maternity Colonies in Indiana and Illinois
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Abstract

The insects most eaten by big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) in Indiana were agricultural pest species: scarab beetles (Scarabaeidae), the spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata Chrysomelidae), stinkbugs (Pentatomidae) and leafhoppers (Cicadellidae). Larvae of the genus Diabrotica are the corn rootworms, probably the single most important agricultural pest in the United States. Feeding of bats commenced in spring during the last week of March or the first week of April, and ceased by the 2nd wk of November. Spotted cucumber beetles were important foods in early April, then again in late summer and autumn. Scarabs were very important throughout the active season, but especially in April and May. Green stinkbugs (Acrosternon hilare) were most heavily eaten in late May and early June and again in September. Dipterans, lepidopterans, trichopterans and hymenopterans were minor foods. Since big brown bats are so beneficial, we should protect them legislatively, perhaps federally, by an act similar to the migratory bird treaty act. Farmers should not evict or otherwise persecute bats, but should encourage them to form maternity colonies. Also, bridges could be designed in such a way as to encourage bats to use them as roosts.

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