Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) activity, diet and prey availability at the Waihou Mitigation Area, Maui

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Habitat use, diet, prey availability, and foraging ecology of the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus, Vespertilionidae), was examined in the east Maui region inclusive of the Waihou Mitigation Area, Pu‘u Makua Restoration Area and the wind energy facility operated by Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC. The study was conducted to inform the mitigation and management requirements of Auwahi Wind Energy. Acoustic monitoring over the three-year period demonstrated that bats are present and actively forage year-round at the Waihou Mitigation Area. Over an 8-month span, 11 bats were uniquely color-banded and released, 3 of which were pregnant or lactating females, and highlights the importance of the area to breeding residents. Our study included the first genetic analysis of Hawaiian hoary bat diet, and confirms the inclusion of Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, and Blattodea among the prey items of this bat identified in previous microscopy-based studies. Hawaiian hoary bats consumed both native and non-native insect species, including several invasive species damaging to crop agriculture. Moths were the primary dietary component, both in prevalence among individual bats and the proportion of gene sequence counts. Through genetic analysis, we identified 18 Lepidoptera families (dominated by Noctuidae, Geometridae, Crambidae, Oecophoridae and Tortricidae) including 24 genus- or species-level taxa. Lepidoptera collected as caterpillars directly from vegetation did not appear in the diet of the 8 bat guano samples at the genus or species level. However, the occurrence of moth larva on native plants suggests that reforestation that includes host plants for these insect families may provide food for locally foraging bats.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Title Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) activity, diet and prey availability at the Waihou Mitigation Area, Maui
Series number HSCU-090
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Hawai‘i Cooperative Studies Unit, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
Contributing office(s) Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, Pacific Islands Ecosys Research Center
Description v, 60 p.
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial Maui