Research and photography has begun on Merlin Tuttle's new book, Bats of North America, to be published by the University of Texas Press. All relevant literature published about North American bats will be reviewed, ensuring the most comprehensive account of current knowledge and research published thus far. The large format, hardcover book will also include a key for identification of all 43 species and will be accompanied by publication of a convenient softcover field guide.
-to-date books about bats are available, and despite rapidly growing interest in bats, people have had few opportunities to learn more. Merlin Tuttle's first book, America's Neighborhood Bats, which is an introduction to the bats most commonly encountered by people, has filled an important need since its publication in 1988. (It has also been the University of Texas Press' best-selling title.) But a comprehensive work about the bats of North America has not been published in more than 20 years.
With Tuttle's fine photography, the book will illustrate a full range of rarely seen bat behavior, and many activities will be photographed in the wild for the first time. Each species will also be shown in close-up portraits to ensure maximum ease of identification.
The first part of the project is taking Tuttle around the country on extensive photographic expeditions to capture on film the remaining bat species needed for the book. Some will be difficult to find: the Florida mastiff bat (Eumops glaucinus) hasn't officially been seen since 1988 and then only a single bat, the first in 10 years. Others, such as the spectacular spotted bat (Euderma maculatum), has never been seen in a natural roost.
In addition to documenting America's bats on film, Tuttle will also be conducting field observations needed to fill in knowledge gaps of some species' behavior. Bats of North America will be a major and definitive work that will not only appeal to lay readers, but will also fill an invaluable niche for professional biologists. Some 10,000 new photographs already have been taken. Producing the book is expected to take at least more two years.