All 16 species of bats known to occur in western Colorado are found at Mesa Verde National Park (MVNP) in the southwestern United States. Since 1996, wildfires have burned more than 70% of MVNP (>15,000 ha), potentially altering food and roosting resources for bats. During the summers of 2006–2007, we investigated roost use by reproductive female western long-eared myotis (Myotis evotis). We located 33 bat roosts in rock crevices and 1 in a juniper snag. All but 2 of the roosts were in unburned habitat. Bats roosted alone or in small groups (≤3 individuals) and switched roosts frequently (1–7 roosts per bat, median = 1.5 roosts per bat, SE = 0.5 roosts per bat). We compared occupied roosts with randomly selected unoccupied crevices and used an information theoretic approach to determine which variables were most important in determining roost use at microhabitat and landscape scales. At the microhabitat scale, maternity roosts were higher above the ground and deeper than random, unoccupied rock crevices. At the landscape scale, roosts were closer to water and farther from burned habitat than random crevices, providing reproductive female M. evotis with the best opportunities to drink and forage for insects. Tree roosts are apparently not a vital resource for reproductive female M. evotis during the summer months at our study site, presumably because of the extensive availability of rock crevices. Understanding site-specific roosting behavior is important for proper management of bat populations because differences can exist between geographic regions, even among areas with similar plant communities.
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Vol. 94 • No. 3