Very little is known about Schwartz’s myotis (Myotis martiniquensis), a threatened bat from the Caribbean. Myotis bats are also known as the mouse-eared bats (3), a reference to their large ears (4), and typically have brown upperparts with paler underparts (5). All Myotis bats have an elongated muzzle, soft fur and a distinctive ear tragus(4). Two subspecies of Schwartz’s myotis are recognised: Myotis martiniquensis martiniquensis and Myotis martiniquensis nyctor. M. m. nyctor has longer and silkier fur than the woolly fur of M. m. martiniquensis(6).
Schwartz’s myotis is insectivorous(5). Unfortunately, there is little else known about this species and its biology. Some Neotropical (tropical American) Myotis species have been found to mate all year round, with the exception of the rainy season (10), and this may be applicable to Schwartz’s myotis. Most Neotropical (tropical American) bats do not hibernate, but spend a short time every day in a state of torpor, where the body ‘shuts down’ temporarily to conserve energy (11).
Like many bats, Schwartz’s myotis roosts in caves (7) and has also made use of human settlements for roosting (8).Martinique is a volcanic, tropical island with Mount Pelée being the island’s large volcano. Barbados has a unique geology created from extinct coral reefs, which has meant the island has many caves for the bat to roost in (9).
Currently, the only known major threat to Schwartz’s myotis is hurricanes (1), which damage the habitat in which the bat feeds and roosts. Climate change is likely to increase this threat (1) as it is expected that climatic changes will stimulate more extreme weather events, including increased frequency and severity of tropical hurricanes (12)(13).
Hibernation is a winter survival strategy characteristic of some mammals in which an animal’s metabolic rate slows down and a state of deep sleep is attained. Whilst hibernating, animals survive on stored reserves of fat that they have accumulated in summer.
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
A soft cartilaginous projection extending in front of the external opening of the ear. In bats, it plays an important role in filtering returning echoes in echolocation.
Eisenberg, J.F. and Redford, K.H. (2000) Mammals of the Neotropics: Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, M.D. (2005) Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. Available at: http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3
Skinner, J.D. and Chimimba, C.T. (2005) The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Cambridge University Press, Cape Town.
Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
LaVal, R.K. and Schwartz, A. (1974) A new bat of the genus Myotis from Barbados. Caribbean Journal of Science, 14: 189-191.
Timm, R.M. and Genoways, H.H. (2003) West Indian mammals from the Albert Schwartz Collection: Biological and historical information. Scientific Papers of the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, 29: 1-47.
Rodríguez-Durán, A. and Kunz, T.H. (2001) Biogeography of bats of the West Indies: An ecological perspective. In: Woods, C. and Sergile, F. (Eds.) Biogeography of the West Indies. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
Blanchon, P. and Eisenhauer, A. (2001) Multi-stage reef development on Barbados during the Last Interglaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 20: 1093-1112.
Wilson, D.E. and Findley, J.S. (1971) Spermatogenesis in some Neotropical species of Myotis. Journal of Mammalogy, 52: 420-426.
Kelm, D.H. and von Helversen, O. (2007) How to budget metabolic energy: torpor in a small Neotropical mammal. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 177(6): 667-677.
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (2000) Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific – Climate Change and the Pacific. Kitakyushu, Japan.
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