Variation in moth occurrence and implications for foraging habitat of Ozark big-eared bats

Luke E. Dodd, Michael J. Lacki, Lynne K. Rieske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We investigated patterns of moth occurrence among habitats in two different landscapes surrounding roosts of the endangered Ozark big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii ingens) from May to August 2005, and compared these data with published results on the diet of this subspecies. Landscapes were situated in the Ozark Mountains, USA, and consisted of a fragmented, agricultural landscape and a contiguous national forest. We captured 8720 moths constituting ≥314 species and 22 families. Pastures demonstrated a lower abundance and richness of moths than other habitats in the fragmented landscape (p < 0.05). Neither abundance nor richness of moths varied by habitat in the forested landscape, but we did observe variation among roost locations (p < 0.05). Abundant families of moths (n ≥ 100 specimens captured) did vary in abundance among habitats in both landscapes (p < 0.05), with poletimber stands, riparian forest and upland forest selected, and pasture, forest edge, sawtimber and sapling stands avoided by at least one family of moths. Density and richness of woody plant species were correlated with the occurrence of moths at sampling sites. We recommend maintaining habitat heterogeneity around roosts of the Ozark big-eared bat to encourage an abundance and richness of moth prey, and suggest that forested riparian corridors are important habitat elements for Ozark big-eared bats foraging in fragmented landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3866-3872
Number of pages7
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 15 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Forestry, University of Kentucky. Our study was conducted under agreements with federal, state, and private agencies, including the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. We thank the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, and private landowners for providing us access to their land holdings. We thank B. Sasse and W. Puckette for advice with study design. K. Summerville and an anonymous reviewer provided constructive comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. Methodology was approved by the University of Kentucky Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC No. 00219A2001). This is a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station (KAES No. 07-99-016) and is published with the approval of the director.


  • Big-eared bats
  • Fragmentation
  • Habitat selection
  • Moths
  • Prey selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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