Research Article

Cave bats in Jamaica

Donald A. McFarlanea1

a1 Section of Birds and Mammals, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007, USA.


Jamaica has 22 native mammal species. One of these is an endangered rodent, the Jamaican hutia Geocapromys browni; the rest are all bats. Fifteen of these bats depend entirely or significantly on caves as roost sites, including two endemic species and seven endemic subspecies. These cave-dwelling bats often form large colonies whose guano deposits are of significant economic value as fertilizer, but which are vulnerable to disturbance and roost destruction. The author, who has visited and worked in many of Jamaica's bat caves over the past eight years, is currently researching the evolution and development of the Antillean bat faunas.