- Scientific Name
- Leptonycteris nivalis
- Global Conservation Status (IUCN)
- United States Conservation Status
- United States, Mexico
Diet: Mexican long-nosed bats feed primarily on the nectar of several species of agave and are important pollinators for this economically important plant. In addition to agave, they will also feed on the pollen from cactus flowers, soft fruit, and even occasionally insects. During the mating season in Mexico, Mexican long-nosed bats also consume pollen and nectar from saguaro, organ pipe cactus and morning glory.
Fun Fact: Mexican long-nosed bats are able to survive at colder temperatures and higher elevations relative to many other nectar-feeding species, partially thanks to special gut adaptations that enable them to extract more energy from nectar and sugar than other species.
Appearance: Sometimes called the greater long-nosed bat, the Mexican long-nosed bat is medium-sized with an elongated nose. This species is distinguished from similar species by its relatively darker and fluffier fur and longer third finger. Mexican long-nosed bat’s long tongues can extend from their body nearly 3 inches and is covered in hair-like papillae that help it drink up nectar from flowers.
Habitat: In Texas, Mexican long-nosed bats occur in agave and desert-scrub woodlands at elevations of 4,900 to 7,500 feet. Throughout their range, they prefer arid regions where agave plants are present, including desert scrub, open conifer-oak woodlands and pine forests. They roost in caves, abandoned mines, and cliff-face cavities in groups ranging from only a few bats to several thousand individuals. There is only one known mating cave for this species, Oztuyehualco Cave, located just outside of Mexico City, Mexico.
Conservation Concerns: The Mexican Long-nosed Bat is listed as federally endangered by both the United States and Mexico, and is endangered according to the IUCN RedList. This species faces a range of threats, most significantly the loss of food sources through agriculture and human exploitation of agave. Mexican long-nosed lat reliance on agave plants, particularly during migration through the “nectar corridor”, also makes them vulnerable to effects from climate change. Ongoing efforts to protect and conserve this species include roost protection and monitoring, habitat restoration, and working with agave farmers to promote sustainable agriculture practices.
BCI Conservation Projects including the Mexican Long-nosed Bat:
- Protection for the only known mating roost, Oztuyehualco Cave
- Restoring Agave for Nectar Feeding Bats