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Economic Value of the Pest Control Service Provided by Brazilian Free-Tailed Bats in South-Central Texas

Cutler J. Cleveland, Margrit Betke, Paula Federico, Jeff D. Frank, Thomas G. Hallam, Jason Horn, Juan D. López Jr., Gary F. McCracken, Rodrigo A. Medellín, Arnulfo Moreno-Valdez, Chris G. Sansone, John K. Westbrook and Thomas H. Kunz
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Vol. 4, No. 5 (Jun., 2006), pp. 238-243
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3868789
Page Count: 6
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Economic Value of the Pest Control Service Provided by Brazilian Free-Tailed Bats in South-Central Texas
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Abstract

Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) form enormous summer breeding colonies, mostly in caves and under bridges, in south-central Texas and northern Mexico. Their prey includes several species of adult insects whose larvae are known to be important agricultural pests, including the corn earworm or cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa zea). We estimate the bats' value as pest control for cotton production in an eight-county region in south-central Texas. Our calculations show an annual value of $741 000 per year, with a range of $121000-$1 725 000, compared to a $4.6-$6.4 million per year annual cotton harvest.

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