Island–island and island–mainland movements of the Curaçaoan long-nosed bat, Leptonycteris curasoae

Of the 3 species comprising the genus Leptonycteris Miller, L. curasoae has been the least studied with respect to its long-distance flights and potential for seasonal migrations. We studied long-distance movements between islands and between islands and the mainland in the Curaçaoan long-nosed bat. We used mark–recapture with periodic sampling and marking of bats in Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, and 1 location (Butare) in Falcón State, on the Venezuelan coastline. Between October 2008 and April 2014, we captured a total of 7,518 individuals at 11 sites (Aruba: n = 1,827, Curaçao: 778, Bonaire: 4,128, and Butare: 785). Between 78.3% and 98.0% of the bats captured at each island and mainland were marked, and the overall percentage of recaptured animals across all sampling sites was 8.31% (n = 529). L. curasoae inhabits the 3 islands year-round. On each island, it roosts in several caves, which can be used alternatively by the same individuals. Despite being a resident species, L. curasoae can perform long-distance oversea flights between islands and between islands and the South American mainland. A total of 11 long-distance flights were recorded (2 Bonaire–Aruba, 4 Bonaire–Curaçao, 1 Curaçao–Bonaire, 1 Bonaire– Venezuela, and 3 Aruba–Venezuela). We propose that populations of this species in Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, and Falcón State, Venezuela, exchange individuals, and part of the insular populations migrate seasonally southward as a response to cyclical changes in local resource availability and the yearly reproductive regime. 

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