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Biology Prof & Alums Publish First Guide to Bats of the U.S.

January 24, 2019

Dr. Loren Ammerman, a professor of biology at Angelo State University, has joined with three ASU alumni and two other researchers to publish the first-ever comprehensive field identification guide for all 51 species of bats that currently inhabit the U.S.

A Mexican long-nosed bat native to Southwest TexasA Mexican long-nosed bat native to Southwest TexasTitled “Field Identification Key and Guide for Bats of the United States of America,” the guide is published through the Texas Tech University Natural Science Research Laboratory as the latest entry to the Occasional Papers of the Museum of Texas Tech University.

Dr. Loren AmmermanDr. Loren AmmermanMost bat species in the U.S. eat insects and are important for pest control. While there are multiple similar bat field guides for specific U.S. regions and individual states, this is the first one that is inclusive of all bat species in the country. Complete with multiple illustrations, it includes species descriptions, physical measurements, range maps and additional information on each species.

“This paper is going to be a major step forward for health departments and wildlife biologists throughout the country,” said Dr. Mike Dixon, chair of the ASU Biology Department. 

The originator of the project was ASU graduate Clint Morgan of Camp Wood, who earned his bachelor’s (2012) and master’s (2015) degrees in biology from ASU and is now a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga.

Two more ASU alumni are also co-authors along with Morgan and Ammerman:

  • Krysta Demere of Water Valley – earned her bachelor’s (2013) and master’s (2016) degrees in biology from ASU and currently works as a research associate at the Texas A&M Natural Resource Institute.
  • Jeffrey Doty of Abilene – earned his master’s degree (2003) in biology from ASU and currently works as a microbiologist for the CDC.
  • The two other co-authors, Matthew Mauldin and Yoshinori Nakazawa, are also researchers at the CDC.

The primary objective of their project was to create an easily acces­sible bat identification field guide that can serve as a resource for public health laboratories and can also be utilized by wildlife rescuers, bat rehabilitation organizations, biological contractors and wildlife biologists. The “Key” component can be used to identify each bat species, and the “Identification Guide” can be used to corroborate geographic distribution, distinguishing characteristics and measurements to further validate the identification.

The field guide is available for free viewing and/or downloading through the Occasional Papers of the Museum of Texas Tech University website.

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