Bats of Texas

With 33 species of bats across 4 taxonomic families, Texas is home to the greatest number of bat species in the USA. The diverse Texas landscape allows for bats of differing dietary, foraging, and roosting ecology; each species with their unique quirks and beautiful in their own way.  Take time to learn about these species, their conservation status, and a few fun facts along the way!

Mormoopidae        Phyllostomidae        Vespertillionidae        Molossidae

Brazilian Free-tailed Bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) emerging from a cave in Texas.

Mormoopidae

Mormoops megalophylla 852_1896


Ghost-faced Bat, Mormoops megalophylla

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Fossil remains of M. megalophylla from Brazilian caves have been radiometrically dated to 20,000 years ago (Czaplewski & Cartelle 1998, J Mammal)
Cuteness Rating: 12/10, a wrinkly teddy bear
Photograph: Sherri & Brock Fenton

Phyllostomidae


Mexican Long-tongued Bat, Choeronycteris mexicana

IUCN: Near Threatened
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Mexican Long-tongued Bats feed on nectar and pollen from cactus flowers, but also visit hummingbird feeders in the Southern USA (Fleming et al. 2021, J Mammal).
Cuteness level: 13/10, a beautiful snout
Photograph: Merlin Tuttle

A Mexican long-tongued bat (Choeronycteris mexicana) pollinating agave flowers (Agave palmeri) in Arizona. Hundreds of species of agave plants, from the southwestern U.S. to the Caribbean Islands and the Andes Mountains of South America rely on bats as their primary pollinators. Pollination
Leptonycteris nivalis

 

Mexican Long-nosed Bat. Leptonycteris nivalis
IUCN: Endangered
Texas Status: Endangered
Fun Fact: Hairlike papillae on their tongues help this nectarivorous bat to drink nectar from cacti and agave (Greenbaum & Phillips 1974, J Mammal)
Cuteness Rating: 12/10, a cute little nose on a cute little bat
Photograph: Rodrigo Medellin


Hairy-Legged Vampire Bat, Diphylla ecaudata

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: N/A
Fun Fact: In a bizarre case of vagrancy, a single individual was found in an abandoned rail tunnel near the Mexican border, over 700 km from the nearest known population (Reddell 1968, Journal of Mammalogy)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, giant eyes and a round little face
Photograph: Gerry Carter

Diphylla ecaudata

Vespertilionidae

Myotis austroriparius

Southeastern Myotis, Myotis austroriparius
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: This species changes its roosting habits in the winter to avoid winter floods (Clement & Castleberry 2013, Am Midl Nat)
Cuteness Rating: 17/10, cute fur and a cuter little muzzle
Photograph: Pete Pattavina- USFWS/USGS (Public Domain)


California Myotis, Myotis californicus

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: This species is acclimated to arid environments, with kidneys specialized to low water availability and get much of their moisture from small bodies of water (Geluso 1978, J Mammal)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, tiny little face in a huge poofy body
Photograph: Elizabeth Clare

Myotis californicus
Myotis ciliolabrum

Western Small-Footed Bat, Myotis ciliolabrum
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas: Least Concern
Fun Fact: This species hibernates in very small groups, usually 1-6 bats per cave, alongside other species such as Eptesicus fuscus and Corynorhinus townsendii (Holloway & Barclay 2001, Mamm)
Cuteness Rating: 16/10, a cute little pitch-black mask
Photograph: Liam McGuire

 

Arizona Myotis, Myotis occultus
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: N/A
Fun Fact: Myotis occultus was long only known from a single record in Texas, from Hudspeth County back in 1893. But of course at that time it wouldn’t have been recognized as Myotis occultus, which was considered a subspecies of Myotis lucifugus until the early 2000s. A second specimen was identified in 2011 by genetic sequencing, 118 years after the first record (Kresja et al. 2020, Texas Tech Museum)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, shaped like a fuzzy cinnamon-streaked potato
Photograph: Merlin Tuttle

Arizona myotis (Myotis occultus) emerging from roost  in Arizona. Roosting
Myotis septentrionalis

 

 

Northern Myotis, Myotis septentrionalis
IUCN: Near Threatened
Texas Status: N/A
Fun Fact: Northern Myotis is only known in Texas from a single specimen collected in Dimmit County in 1942, more than 800 km from the nearest known population (Schmidly & Bradley 2016, Mammals of Texas)
Cuteness Rating: 14/10, has big ears that make them look like a tiny coyote
Photograph: Justin Boyles

Fringed Myotis, Myotis thysanodes
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: The aptly named muscle M. uropataginalis, which extends from the last caudal vertebrae to the calcar of some bats, was first identified in M. thysanodes (Glass & Gannon 1994, Can J Zool).
Cuteness Rating: 17/10, a perfect little snout and gorgeous fur patterning
Photograph: Liam McGuire

Myotis thysanodes
Myotis velifer


Cave Myotis, Myotis velifer

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: The first fungal infection of Mexican bats was recently identified in M. velifer caused by the pathogenic fungus Debaromyces spp. (Tamayo et al. 2021, Acta Vet Brno)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, scraggly little bat with triangular ears
Photograph: Elizabeth Clare

Long-Legged Myotis, Myotis volans
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Capture data suggests that M. volans in the Rocky Mountains are decreasing their down-slope spring migrations with increased temperature due to climate change (Adams 2017, J Zool)
Cuteness Rating: 16/10, simply put, a very fluffy bat
Photograph: Merlin Tuttle

A long-legged myotis (Myotis volans) in Arizona. Portraits
Myotis yumanensis


Yuma Myotis, Myotis yumanensis

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: The Yuma Myotis is named from the location in which they were first documented; Fort Yuma, California (Braun et al. 2015, Mamm)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, a tiny fuzzball with personality
Photograph: Elizabeth Clare

 

 

Western Red Bat, Lasiurus blossevillii
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: The Western Red Bat has only been documented once in Texas in the Sierra Vieja Mountains of Presidio County in 1988, but as a species that goes easily undetected when roosting in foliage, it is possible they occur infrequently (Schmidly & Bradley 2016, Mammals of Texas)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, a beautiful little puffy orange bat
Photograph: Chloe & Trevor Van Loon (CC-BY 4.0)

Lasiurus blossevilli
Lasiurus borealis

 

 

Eastern Red Bat, Lasiurus borealis
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Though some bats in Southern populations stay there year-round, many Eastern red bats are migratory, with some even documented flying over the Atlantic ocean (Hatch et al. 2013, PloS one)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, a perfectly Halloween-colored bat
Photograph: Chris Harshaw (CC BY-SA 3.0)

 

Hoary Bat, Lasiurus cinereus
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Hoary bats are probably the longest distance migrants in North America (Cryan et al. 2004 J Mammal) but we still know very little about what they do in winter (Weller et al. 2016 Sci Rep)
Cuteness Rating: 17/10, a well-frosted batcake
Photograph: Sherri & Brock Fenton

Lasiurus cinereus
Lasiurus ega

 

Southern Yellow Bat, Lasiurus ega
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Threatened
Fun Fact: The introduction of palm trees is thought to be a reason for the recent northward expansion of the southern yellow bat (Schmidly & Bradley 2016, Mammals of Texas)
Cuteness Rating: 14/10, a well-browned flying corn muffin
Photograph: Sherri & Brock Fenton

 

 

Northern Yellow Bat, Lasiurus intermedius
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: This bat primarily roosts in Spanish moss, though it has also been documented using palm tree fronds as well (Castleberry et al. 2020, J Wildl Manage)
Cuteness Rating: 14/10, can easily pass as a furry date in a date palm tree
Photograph: Merlin Tuttle

A northern yellow bat (Lasiurus intermedius) in Mexico, a species that typically roosts among dead palm fronds. Roosting
A Seminole bat (Lasiurus seminolus) in Florida. Portraits


Seminole Bat, Lasiurus seminolus

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Over the past 50 years, the Seminole bats expanded their range northward by approximately 500 km, likely in response to changing climate (Perry 2018, J Mammal)
Cuteness Rating: 16/10, has a perfect head of fur
Photograph: Merlin Tuttle

Western Yellow Bat, Lasiurus xanthinus
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: This species was once considered a subspecies of Lasiurus ega, but was elevated to species status in 1988. First documented in Texas in 1996, the species may be expanding its range northward with warming climate or increasing availability of suitable vegetation. Lasiurus xanthinus and L. ega both occur in Texas, but are found in different parts of the state (Schmidly & Bradley 2016, Mammals of Texas)
Cuteness Rating: 13/10, perfect little ears
Photograph: Merlin Tuttle

Western yellow bats are found in Mexico and the western United States. They are insectivorous and most often roost in dead palm fronds around desert oases. This is a portrait of an adult male netted as it came to drink at an oasis in Baja California Sur, near Loreto, Mexico.
Lasionycteris noctivigans

 


Silver-haired Bat, Lasionycteris noctivagans

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Their species name can be translated as meaning the shaggy-haired bat that wanders the night (Schmidly & Bradley 2016, Mammals of Texas)
Cuteness Rating: 17/10, perfect shaggy coat and tiny little eyes
Photograph: Lauren Hooton

Canyon Bat, Parastrellus hesperus
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: The Canyon Bat was historically known as the Western Pipistrelle until 2006 when DNA evidence showed that it wasn't closely related to old world pipistrelles, nor to the Eastern Pipistrelle (now Tricolored Bat), and thus was placed in its own genus (Hoofer et al. 2006, J Mammal)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, big floppy ears and a sly guy’s mask
Photograph: Elizabeth Clare

Parastrellus hesperus
Perimyotis subflavus


Tricolored Bat, Perimyotis subflavus

IUCN: Vulnerable
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Previously placed in the genus Pipistrellus and referred to as the Eastern Pipistrelle, molecular evidence revealed that no only was this species not closely related to old-world pipistrelles, it also was not closely related to the species formerly known as the Western Pipistrelle (now Canyon Bat, Parastrellus hesperus) (Hoofer et al. 2006, J Mammal)
Cuteness Rating: 18/10, a perfect schnoz on this little fuzzball
Photograph: Sherri & Brock Fenton

 


Big Brown Bat, Eptesicus fuscus

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Females usually birth singletons in Eastern North America and twins in Western North America (Kurta & Baker 1990, Mamm)
Cuteness Rating: 18/10, hyena-faced hairball
Photograph: Liam McGuire

Eptesicus fuscus
Nycticeius humeralis

Evening Bat, Nycticeius humeralis
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Evening bats practice communal nursing, with females that produce extra milk nursing unrelated offspring (Wilkinson 1992, Behav Ecol Sociobiol)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, a very satisfied-looking bat
Photograph: Merlin Tuttle

Spotted Bat, Euderma maculatum
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Threatened
Fun Fact: The Spotted Bat is a moth specialist, and uses low frequency echolocation to avoid the frequency range of best hearing of most moths. The echolocation calls of the Spotted Bat are audible to humans (Fullard & Dawson 1997, J Exp Biol)
Cuteness Rating: 17/10, a flying dalmatian puppy with massive ears
Photograph: Paul Cryan/USGS (Public Domain)

Euderma maculatum
Corynorhinus townsendii


Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, Corynorhinus townsendii

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact:  Their large wing area to body mass ratio (low wing loading) allows for high maneuverability during low speed flight and hovering (Kunz & Martin 1982, Mamm)
Cuteness Rating: 14/10, cute little nose nubs and ears like fern leaves
Photograph: Liam McGuire

Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat, Corynorhinus rafinesquii
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Threatened
Fun Fact: This species folds its large ears inwards in a coiled shape during hibernation (Dalquest 1947, J Mammal)
Cuteness Rating: 14/10, looks adorable with their ears tucked in
Photograph: Jason Slater/FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Corynorhinus rafinesquii
Antrozous pallidus

Pallid Bat, Antrozous pallidus
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Pallid bats have exceptional dietary plasticity. They are generally considered gleaning hunters, taking large arthropods like scorpions and centipedes from the ground. But Pallid bats also take nectar from cactus flowers (Frick et al. 2009 J Mammal)
Cuteness Rating: 18/10, perfect little snout and teeth for grabbing
Photograph: Elizabeth Clare

Molossidae

Tadarida brasiliensis

 


Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat, Tadarida brasiliensis

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Fastest horizontal flight speed of any animal (McCracken et al. 2016, R. Soc. Open Sci)
Cuteness Rating: 18/10, cute little winkly lips, a cute set of whiskers, and a scrappy little tail
Photograph: Elizabeth Clare

Pocketed Free-Tailed Bat, Nyctinomops femorosaccus
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: This species is only found in the Big Bend region of Texas, including Big Bend National Park (Brewstwer County) and the adjacent counties (Presidio and Terrell Counties) (Schmidly & Bradley 2016, Mammals of Texas)
Cuteness Rating: 17/10, their face is nothing but wrinkles, this is a flying raisin
Photograph: Elizabeth Clare

Nyctinomops femorosaccus
Nyctinomops macrotis

Big Free-Tailed Bat, Nyctinomops macrotis
IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Little is known about the winter behavior of this bat, with conflicting information on whether they migrate or hibernate (Schmidly & Bradley 2016, Mammals of Texas)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, a little lacking in the lower jaw department and has a wonderful square-shaped head
Photograph: Elizabeth Clare


Greater Western Mastiff Bat, Eumops perotis

IUCN: Least Concern
Texas Status: Least Concern
Fun Fact: Largest bat in Texas and largest in USA with body mass up to 84 grams (Schmidly & Bradley 2016, Mammals of Texas)
Cuteness Rating: 15/10, this is a full handful of a bat
Photograph: Elizabeth Clare

Eumops perotis

To learn more about Texas bats, check out “Bats of Texas” by Loren K. Ammerman, Christine L. Hice, and David J. Schmidly or “The Mammals of Texas” by David J. Schmidly and Robert D. Bradley.

Global conservation statuses from IUCN red list. Texas conservation status from Texas Parks and Wildlife website and fact sheet.