Herald Moths in cave & IDing bats

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Herald Moths in cave & IDing bats

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jan 15, 2012 6:29 pm

I was recently interested to find dozens of what I later learned were Herald Moths; Scoliopteryx libatrix in a small Ohio cave. I wonder if they are included in the diet of the bats that inhabit the same cave and if so, are their hibernations correspondent? There was a whole mess of biology crammed into the same little corner with several bats, several moths, a score of crickets, and a bristling mass of Opiliones all within a few feet of one another. There's an example of the moth here: http://bugguide.net/node/view/299261
They may be commonly found in caves but this is the first time I have seen them. I mistook them for chert nodules initially.

Also, I am realizing that I am woefully ignorant when it comes to identifying bats. Can anyone point me to a good resource of info?

Thanks very much.
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Re: Herald Moths in cave & IDing bats

Postby driggs » Feb 6, 2012 12:57 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:Also, I am realizing that I am woefully ignorant when it comes to identifying bats. Can anyone point me to a good resource of info?


The BCI Field Guide to Eastern Cave Bats is dirt-cheap, tiny, and printed on mud-proof paper, so you won't feel bad bringing it in cave to help you ID bats. Unfortunately, our cave bats are difficult to tell apart without experience seeing all of them to get an idea of their relative similarities and differences.

The easiest for you to identify in Ohio will be:

- the Tri-Colored Bat (aka Eastern Pipistrelle) with its small, hunched body with "poor posture" and give-away pink forearms, sometimes covered with condensation in the winter
- the large body and luxurious dog-fur of the Big Brown Bat
- and, if you're down on the Kentucky border of Ohio, the gigantic, curled back ears of the Rafinesque's Big-Eared Bat
- everything else is likely to be "Myotis species"... if they're clustered super-dense with pinkish noses, they may be Indiana Bats, less-dense (but still dense!) clusters or singles with pronounced lighter color bellies are likely to be Little Browns, tiny with a raccoon mask and all-by-his-self is probably a Small-Footed Myotis... but identifying Myotis species is difficult even with practice, and sometimes even with the bat in hand*.

*Do not handle bats in the name of "citizen science", for your own safety, and for the bat's safety.
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Re: Herald Moths in cave & IDing bats

Postby SuckinOnSodaStraws » Feb 7, 2012 9:40 pm

I need help identifying this worm I found while caving. I haven't seen anything like it in any caves in CO. I figure it may be a rare species. Unlike the cave silkworms that "fish" for prey by dangling their strings, this one was weaving a small silk web and just hanging out in the middle.

Image
Image

May need to repost... IDK the image size restrictions for posts...
Anyways, just interesting. Had me sitting there staring while the other 2 in my group went along with caving.
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Re: Herald Moths in cave & IDing bats

Postby GroundquestMSA » Feb 7, 2012 9:48 pm

I've seen very similar worms here in Ohio. These were a bit darker in color and their webs much smaller, but were otherwise identical. They were decided to be gnat larvae by the biologist I spoke to.
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Re: Herald Moths in cave & IDing bats

Postby SuckinOnSodaStraws » Feb 8, 2012 12:16 pm

Thanks for the info GQ, that little guy made some awesome pics and vid. Oh and btw, my scanner crashed and burned in a basement flood recently, so I'm outta the art game for a little while... Could use my digital cam...
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Re: Herald Moths in cave & IDing bats

Postby Joseph W. Dixon » Feb 12, 2012 12:30 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:...I wonder if they are included in the diet of the bats that inhabit the same cave...

I would say it is definately possible. Two other temperate moths (both in the genus Hypena) are also known to utilize caves occasionally. I have found discarded Hypena wings below orb weaver spider (Meta ovalis) webs in caves, so it isn't really that far of a stretch of the imagination to think that other predators would be eating moths in caves as well.
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Re: Herald Moths in cave & IDing bats

Postby GroundquestMSA » Aug 29, 2013 2:03 pm

As an example, what bat is this? I've not seen any positive id of local bats and I want to be sure before I publish a description. These are small, 2" to 3".
http://i1241.photobucket.com/albums/gg515/GroundquestMSA/bats.jpg
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Re: Herald Moths in cave & IDing bats

Postby driggs » Sep 2, 2013 3:56 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:As an example, what bat is this? I've not seen any positive id of local bats and I want to be sure before I publish a description. These are small, 2" to 3".

http://i1241.photobucket.com/albums/gg515/GroundquestMSA/bats.jpg


Tri-Colored Bat (aka Eastern Pipistrelle), Perimyotis subflavus. There are several bat species who prey primarily on Lepidoptera (moths); the Tri-Colored bat does not.
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