Date of this Version
No comprehensive survey of the chiropteran fauna of the Antillean island of Antigua has been undertaken in the past. Seven species of bats have been reported in the literature from the island previously, but these have appeared in scattered reports. The first report of bats from Antigua was by Allen (1 890) when he reported a single specimen of Noctilio leporinus and two of Artibeus jamaicensis obtained during an ornithological survey of Antillean islands. Subsequent collections of bats on Antigua were incidental to herpetological work or paleontological surveys of Antiguals limestone cave systems. We found 138 voucher specimens from Antigua scattered in eight museums from previous collecting efforts. Before 2000, almost all extant vouchers with locality data were collected from the vicinity of "Bats Cave," situated on the southeast corner of the island near the town of English Harbour in the Parish of St. Paul. The first formal survey of Antiguan bats was performed by Matthew Morton and Kevel Lindsay in 1994. Although some mist-netting was conducted, their work focused on roost surveys. aiming to provide a resource for future work concerning sites that would benefit from local conservation efforts and further study.
The surveys conducted by parties led by Scott Pedersen in June 1998, July-August 2000, and June 2003 provide the first significant results from mist-netting bats in a variety of foraging habitats on Antigua. Because the southwestern quadrant of the island was under-represented in previous survey efforts, the primary goal of the 2000 and 2003 surveys was to focus upon this forested region and possibly provide new species records for Antigua. The secondary goal of the survey was to provide comparative data for ongoing research into the impact of natural disasters on the bat population on the adjacent island of Montserrat (Adams and Pedersen 1999; Pedersen 2001 ; Pedersen et al., in prep.).