Why are bats important?
By eating insects, bats save U.S. agriculture billions of dollars per year in pest control. Some studies have estimated that service to be worth over $3.7 billion per year, and possibly as much as $53 billion.
This value does not, however, take into account the volume of insects eaten by bats in forest ecosystems and the degree to which that benefits industries like lumber. It also doesn’t take into account the critical importance of bats as plant and crop pollinators. So the actual monetary worth of bats is far greater than $3.7 billion per year.
Learn more at the USGS Bats website.
What should I do if I find dead or dying bats, or if I observe bats with signs of White-nose Syndrome?
Pest-control services provided by insect-eating bats in the United States likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year, and yet insectivorous bats are among the most overlooked economically important, non-domesticated animals in North America, according to an analysis published in this week’s Science magazine Policy Forum.
This photo shows clustered southeastern bats, or Myotis austroriparius. As of June 2017, the species joins eight other hibernating bat species in North America that are afflicted with the deadly bat fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.
A little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) with white-nose syndrome hibernating in a Virginia cave during late spring of 2016. Patches of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome can be seen growing out of the skin (white areas) near the nose and across the folded wing skin of this bat. Spherical drops of water condensation coat the bat's outer fur, a...
Dissected guano pellet showing antennae, eyes, and body fragments of midges.
Recorded Bat Calls: Recorded 'echolocation' calls are later evaluated by computer programs and visual inspection to ascribe bat species identities.
Spectrograph of an acoustic recording from the western small-footed myotis (Myotis ciliolabrum) noting shape and frequency of call with photo of the western small-footed myotis and cartoon representation of this bat echolocating below.
Allen's big-eared bat (Idionycteris phyllotis), an insectivore known from the southwestern United States.
An Arizona bat or Occult bat (Myotis occultus) roost from southern Colorado.
While mother bats are out foraging, the young bats huddle together in groups that biologists call a cuddle.
A spotted bat.