Artificial ponds are important foraging and drinking resources for bats at La Michilía, a temperate forest with a marked seasonal drought. Using acoustic data we tested the hypothesis that water availability restricts bat activity in the dry season to ponds, whereas in the rainy season resources are widely available and therefore used throughout the area. We compared bat activity at six ponds with that of a 500-meter transect perpendicular to each pond. We predicted that activity would be higher at ponds in the dry season, whereas in the rainy season activity should be equal or higher at transects. Also, all species guilds would use ponds in the dry season, whereas gleaners, edge aerial and open aerial foragers would be more frequent at transects in the rainy season. In no instance activity was higher at transects than at ponds during the rainy season. Open areas showed little or no bat activity in the dry season, but were very active in the rainy season. One transect located in dense forest and one near human dwellings were active both seasons. Open aerial foragers were present mostly on ponds in the dry season, and on ponds and transects in the rainy season; edge aerial bats were common in ponds in the dry season, but rare in transects in the rainy season. Trawling bats used ponds and transects in both seasons; and gleaners were rare over ponds and transects in both seasons. Because bats use the local habitat differently depending on season and feeding guild, and climate and seasonality vary greatly in Mexican temperate forests, conservation strategies can not be generalized, but should be implemented on a case-by-case basis.
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Vol. 18 • No. 2