I am writing study about habitat preferences of bats. It examines tree-dwelling (inside cavities) and foliage roosting bats.

My problem is to find the right term which is able to incorporate both groups. I was thinking that tree-dwelling bats is maybe the right word. But I have doubts if "dwelling" does not indicate that animals use space "inside" of the tree.

Are tree-dwelling bats defined as all bats which use trees ("inside" in cavities and "outside" by hanging on branches), or it is reserved only for "inside" living animals?

  • I think a dwelling is just a housing. Inside, outside, over, under. Doesn't matter I don't think
    – Evorlor
    Dec 25 '14 at 2:27

In short, I agree with the selection of Tree-dwelling for bats that live either within a cavity or foliage of a tree. Though in situations such as this, I would advise looking at the scholarly papers within your field of study, rather than in a general English sense. Words can be used in much different context and meaning inside science groups than used in mainstream English use. Based on a quick jstor search, it looks like Tree-dwelling is generally the term applied to bats that make their home inside trees (cavities, foliage). As a specific example of usage see this article from the Journal of Mammalogy Summer Roost Selection by Tree-Dwelling Bats Nyctalus noctula and N. leisleri: A Multiscale Analysis

  • 3
    Also note that in layperson's English, the inside of the tree is the volume defined by the trunk above ground level and the foliage. So my cat can get stuck "in a tree" or I can build a fort "in a tree," or a bird can build a nest "in a tree," and in all cases, I could mean "among the branches of a tree."
    – Adam
    Dec 24 '14 at 21:57
  • Thank you very much @Adam. This definition is very useful to me. Dec 24 '14 at 22:09
  • 2
    @LadislavNado Judicious use of the word "arboreal" also wouldn't be out of place in your study.
    – Adam
    Dec 24 '14 at 22:51

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