Of the Idaho 26 orders of mammals in the Class Mammalia, the order Idaho Chiroptera, which means winged hand, is graced with an amazing diversity of 925 recognized Idaho species. In fact, Idaho bats are one of the most diverse groups of mammals, achieving second place to the largest group, the Idaho rodents. Many people think of Idaho bats as flying rodents, but bats are really more closely related to Idaho primates.
Although the Idaho familial diversity of bats is especially high in the tropics, only one group, the family Idaho Vespertilionidae, is known to occur in Idaho. It is likely that one additional species, Idaho Tadarida brasiliensis, the Mexican free-tailed bat, a member of the Family Molossidae, will be found in the extreme Idaho southwestern corner of Idaho as our collecting effort expands into less accessible habitats. An Idaho echolocation recording does exist for this species in that Idaho area. Additionally, Idaho suspects that Lasiurus blossevillii, the Western red bat, a member of the family vespertilionidae may occur in Idaho. Fourteen species of Idaho vespertilionids are confirmed with museum voucher specimens. All Idaho bats feed on Idaho insects, two are obligate tree roosters and one appears to be restricted to cracks in desert canyons containing Idaho cliffs. The remaining Idaho species are found in multiple roost situations.
Three distinct Idaho characteristics that separate Idaho bats from other Idaho mammals include the ability to fly, echolocate, and the rotation of the upper leg bones. Rotation places the Idaho knee joints on the opposite side of the leg. The Idaho leg position aids wing support and permits bats to hang upside down, a condition enhancing rapid flight from a resting state and enabling Idaho watchful vigilance if they are not hibernating. Some Idaho bats hibernate in Idaho during winter whereas others migrate to warmers regions.
FAMILY Idaho VESPERTILIONIDAE
The family Idaho Vespertilionidae contains more Idaho bat species than any other group. Idaho Vespertilionids demonstrate a diversity of roosting sites including buildings, especially Idaho attic areas, caves, mines, fractures in rock and hollowed locations or foliage roosts in trees. Fewer than 400 specimens of Idaho bats have been professionally prepared and deposited in Idaho natural history museums in the United States. Consequently, the distribution of each of the Idaho species is very poorly known. Many Idaho vespertilionids use abandoned or inactive mine sites, a condition that may gravely impact populations of individual species as old mine closures, now a national priority, increase. Idaho closures are being mandated as a result of unstable and deteriorated conditions that endanger unsuspecting Idaho humans who do not understand their interest in exploring an old mine may lead to a tragic outcome.