Our Central Coast Bats

Our Central Coast Bats

Sixteen species of bats may occur within California’s Central Coast Region. Two of our Central Coast bats are quite rare in the area: the Small-footed (aka “Dark-nosed Small-footed”) Bat and the Western Mastiff Bat. Here’s a list of all of our Central Coast bats with a few notes about each including their key features:

Y  – Indicates species detected during Central Coast Bat Survey*
N – Indicates our Central Coast bats expected but not yet detected at any of our study sites*
*Data primarily from San Luis Obispo County, CA

Vespertilionid Bats

Smaller Vespertilionid Bats

Y – Canyon Bat (Parastrellus hesperus)
Key features: Smallest North American bat (body length: 60-70mm); forearm 25-30mm; dark facial mask; unique (blunt) tragus (unlike Myotis); keeled calcar; one tiny premolar – Myotis have two – however, this is an in-hand trait only.

Y – Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
Key features: Rare in SLO, MON, and SBA counties. Small bat; body length 80-95mm; forearm length 36-40mm; wingspan 220-270mm; fur darker on dorsum than ventrum; feet w/long toe hairs that extend to tips of toes.

Y – Fringed (fringe-tailed) Myotis (Myotis thysanodes)
Key features: Body length 75-105mm; relatively long ears (16-20mm); often with notable facial mask; only Myotis w/fringe of (stiff) hairs along edge of interfemoral membrane.

Y – Long-legged Myotis (Myotis volans)
Key features: Body length 95-103mm; forearm 36-42mm; underwing furred near body from knee to elbow; obvious keel on calcar.

Y – Long-eared Myotis (Myotis evotis)
Key features: Body length 75-95mm; forearm 36-41mm; extremely long ears for a Myotis (18-25mm); also, ears black, shiny, and hairless.

Y – California Myotis (Myotis californicus)
Key features: All-around small bat – body length 65-90mm; forearm 32-38mm; base of hairs typically much darker than tips; foot is very small (5-8mm); forearm is small (< 35mm); calcar is keeled.

Y – Small-footed Myotis (Myotis ciliolabrum; IUCN considers the western race a distinct species, M.  melanorhinus (the “dark-nosed small-footed myotis”). There is little consensus for this designation)
Key features: Rare or absent along coast. Similar to California myotis: Small size (body length 65-85mm); forearm 30-35mm; foot similarly small (5-8 mm), calcar is keeled; dorsal surface of interfemoral membrane furred on anterior half; skull flattened; ears black; typically has distinctive black facial mask.

Y – Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis)
Key features: Noticeably two-toned (darker on back, lighter on underside); small bat (body length 85-90mm); forearm 32-36mm; large feet (≈10 mm); short ears (13-15mm), lacks keel on the calcar.

Y – Western Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii pallescens)
Key features: Just slightly larger than large Myotis species (body length 90-115mm); forearm 39-44mm; large ears (30-40mm); distinct horseshoe-shaped lump on nose.

Larger Vespertilionid Bats

Y – Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus)
Key features: Medium-sized (length 92-135mm); forearm 48-60mm; large eyes; often feeds on the ground; can run on folded wings and hind feet; can hop from ground to catch insects

Y – Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
Key features: Largest locally-occurring bat with uniform brown fur (body length 105-120mm); forearm 45-52mm; tragus blunt (as opposed to pointed in all Myotis species)

Y – Silver-Haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)
Key features: Medium-sized bat (body length 90-115mm); forearm 39-43mm; interfemoral membrane lightly furred; fur color typically black with silver tips – similar to hoary bat but face NOT distinctly lighter than back

Y – Western Red Bat (Lasiurus blossevillii)
Key features: Medium-sized (body length 90-120mm); forearm 38-42mm; males typically brick-red, females are rusty (i.e., browner); body hairs often tipped with white; interfemoral membrane heavily (densely) furred

Y – Hoary Bat (Aeorestes cinereus)
Key features: Large bat (body length 130-145mm); forearm 50-55mm; face lighter than dorsum (often yellowish); ears distinctively rounded, glossy black in color with naked edges; all-over densely furred.

Molossid (free-tailed) Bats

Y – Mexican (Brazilian) Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
Key features: A small bat (body length 90-105mm) with long narrow wings (extremely fast flier); forearm 36-46mm; tail extends out from the interfemoral membrane; long hairs extend from toes; unlike mastiff bat, ears don’t meet in the middle of forehead; notably wrinkled lips.

Y – Western Mastiff Bat (Eumops perotis)
Key features: Rare in SLO, MON, and SBA counties. Largest U.S. bat; body length 140-185mm; forearm 72-82mm; long, narrow wings; approx. half of tail is free from the membrane between hind legs; large ears join at the midline of forehead, noticeable underbite.

Here’s a link to our Key to California’s Central Coast Bats