Agave leads the way for long-nosed bats

Pulque agave (Agave salmiana)

Pulque agave (Agave salmiana), one of the species investigated in the study, rises to over six meters when blooming. Photo by Carlos Galindo-Leal licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Paniculate agave (Agave spp.) flower clusters are adapted to attract bats, and evidence suggests that this attraction leads the path for Mexican long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris nivalis) on their annual spring migration from central Mexico to the southern United States.

In this study, researchers use agave and L. nivalis occurrences primarily from the GBIF network to model the distribution of relevant species, and to determine the concordance between agave species richness and bat occurrences. The modelled distributions of agave show that richness is associated with elevation, and that more species occur at higher and narrower elevation ranges. Bats co-occur in areas with more than one species of agave in 77 per cent of cases.

The combined results of the study provide convincing evidence that L. nivalis occurrences are correlated with distribution of Agave species, which support the proposed migratory corridor hypothesis presented in the study.

Citation information 

Gómez-Ruiz EP and Lacher TE (2016) Modelling the potential geographic distribution of an endangered pollination corridor in Mexico and the United States. Diversity and Distributions. Wiley-Blackwell 23(1): 67–78. Available at: