The aim of this study was to investigate the spatiotemporal variation in richness, abundance, structure and composition of phyllostomid bats over a successional gradient in a tropical dry forest in south-eastern Brazil. Four successional stages (pasture, early, intermediate and late) were sampled in the northern part of the state of Minas Gerais. Bats were sampled using mist nets at three sites for each of the four successional stages (12 sites in total) during eight periods between 2007 and 2009. A total of 537 individuals were captured (29 recaptured), distributed among four families and 22 species. Bat abundance and richness varied in space, being higher in the late-successional stage, and over time, being significantly lower during the dry season. When compared between guilds, only the abundance of omnivores varied significantly during the sampled months. Our results demonstrate that areas of late-successional stages showed higher bat richness and abundance in comparison with areas undergoing secondary succession. Our results also suggest the use of early-successional areas as flying routes by bats can lead to failure to detect differences in bat composition within successional gradients. We suggest future studies should assimilate landscape-level analyses into their studies to better evaluate the effects of successional gradients on bat assemblages.