- Scientific Name
- Leptonycteris yerbabuenae
- Global Conservation Status (IUCN)
- Near Threatened
- El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; United States
- Frugivore Nectarivore
Diet: Lesser long-nosed bats specialize on the nectar of night blooming cacti, including saguaro, organ pipe. This species is commonly referred to as the ‘Tequila bat’, due to its role as a pollinator of agave, the plant use for tequila and mezcal production. In addition to feeding on nectar, they also feed on cactus fruits and may play a role as seed dispersers for some cacti.
Fun Fact: Male lesser long-nosed bats develop smelly glands between their shoulder blades during the breeding season, which are thought to play a role in mating behaviors of this species.
Appearance: Lesser long-nosed bats are medium-sized (between 15 – 25 grams) with short, brownish fur. They have a small leaf-shaped projection on the end of their elongated nose. The long, narrow snout of lesser long-nosed bats help these bats feed from nectar in flowers, which they lap up with elongated, specialized tongues.
Habitat: Lesser long-nosed bats are found primarily in arid grasslands, desert scrublands, and dry tropical forests. Female lesser long-nosed bats migrate seasonally from south-central Mexico to the southwestern United States in the spring, along ‘nectar corridors’ of columnar cacti and agave plants. Male bats and some females reside year-round in south-central parks of Mexico. In addition to migratory behaviors, lesser long-nosed bats also travel long distances during foraging, with round trips from roosts to foraging areas as far as 100 km (62 miles).
Conservation Concerns: The lesser long-nosed bat is one of three species of bats that occurs seasonally in the southwestern United States that feed primarily on nectar. This species was listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1988 due to declining populations and habitat loss. Fortunately, the lesser long-nosed bat is now considered a conservation success story as the first bat de-listed from the Endangered Species Act. Though they have been removed from the Endangered Species lists in both the United States and Mexico, researchers and conservationists continue to monitor known roosts, restore and maintain healthy desert habitats (particularly along the migratory ‘nectar corridors’), and raise awareness among the public of the ecological and economic importance of this bat species.
BCI Conservation Projects including the lesser long-nosed bat