Chemical lights and gelatin capsules prepared using Cyalume® fluid are widely used by researchers and public educators to mark bats, but may be associated with risks to bats from Cyalume leakage. Newly available 2.9-mm x 24-mm lightsticks weigh significantly less than gelatin-capsule light tags and are protected by a durable plastic shell that reduces risks to bats. We tested Cyalume as a wetting agent on bat fur and compared effects of biting and chewing, duration of visibility, and maximum distance of visibility for miniature lightsticks and gelatin-capsule light tags. We found that Cyalume leaked from gelatin capsules, which softened and ruptured after explosure to chewing and saliva, precipitation, and high humidity. Bats did not puncture or damage the miniature lightsticks. There was no significant difference in duration of luminescence or maximum distance of visibility between miniature lightsticks and gelatin-capsule light tags. Miniature lightsticks provided equal or superior results to gelatin-capsule light tags as a light-tagging technique under field conditions.
Tested tags on bats