Roost selection by big brown bats in forests of Arkansas: importance of pine snags and open forest habitats to males
Although Eptesicus fuscus (Big Brown Bat) has been widely studied, information on tree-roosting in forests by males is rare, and little information is available on tree roosting in the southeastern United States. Our objectives were to characterize diurnal summer roosts, primarily for male Big Brown Bats, and to determine relationships between forest structure and roost selection. We quantified 25 male roosts located via radiotelemetry, and describe an additional 9 maternity roosts for females. All roosts for both sexes were in Pinus echinata (Shortleaf Pine) snags, and 82% of roost snags were 15?25 cm diameter at breast height (dbh). Most (94%) roosts for both sexes were under loose bark. A logistic regression model differentiating male roost sites from random locations indicated males were more likely to roost in recently thinned, open-forest conditions (less canopy cover, more cut stumps, and fewer understory stems) that contained abundant overstory pines ≥25 cm dbh and abundant snags. Males roosted primarily (84%) in stands that had recently undergone partial harvesting. Maintaining a supply of pine snags ≥15 cm dbh in relatively open forest habitats, including areas undergoing partial harvest, would provide roosting habitat for male Big Brown Bats in the Ouachita Mountains.