New Jersey Field Office
Northeast Region
 

Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) [proposed endangered]

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Additional Information

Indiana bat

IN BRIEF

Habitat:
Winter- caves and mines
Summer- wooded areas

Diet:
Flying insects (including mosquitos!) and arachnids (e.g., spiders)

Main Threats:
White-Nose Syndrome

Fun Fact:
Highly social, female northern long-eared bats form in maternity colonies to raise their pups.


Overview

The northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) is a medium sized bat weighing approximately 5 to 8 grams with females slightly larger than males. The northern long-eared bat is distinguished from other Myotis species by its long ears.

The northern long-eared bat overwinters in caves and abandoned mines. Hibernacula are typically large with constant temperatures, high humidity and no air currents. Within hibernacula, northern long-eared bats are found in tight crevices and cracks with only nose and ears visible. The northern long-eared bats congregate in the vicinity of their hibernacula in August or September and enter into hibernation in October and November. These bats show a high degree of philopatry (using the same site multiple years) to hibernaculum, although they may not return to the same hibernaculum in consecutive years. Movement among multiple hibernacula throughout the winter has also been observed. There are eight known hibernacula in New Jersey, all in the northern part of the State.

In April, northern long-eared bats emerge from hibernation and migrate to summer habitat. Migratory movements are short compared to the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), with movement typically between 35 miles and 55 miles. Once at summer habitat, the northern long-eared bat is comparable to the Indiana bat in terms of summer roost selection, but appears to be more opportunistic. Northern long-eared bats roost singly or in colonies underneath bark, in cavities, or in crevices of both live and dead trees. Maternity colonies generally consist of 30 to 60 females and young. Males and non-reproductive females are solitary in the summer and may roost in cooler places such as caves and mines. Roosting northern long-eared bats have also been observed in man-made structures, such as buildings, barns, sheds, cabins, under eaves of buildings, and in bat houses. In southern New Jersey the northern long-eared bat is known to roost in pitch pine (Pinus rigida) forests and Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) swamps.

Preferred foraging areas are in forested habitats. The northern long-eared bat emerges at dusk and feeds on moths, flies, leafhoppers, caddisflies, and beetles approximately 3 to 10 feet above the ground. Gleaning arachnids (e.g., spiders) and insects from leaves is another foraging technique used by northern long-eared bats.

Distribution

Species Range: The distribution of the northern long-eared bat includes the midwest and northeast of the United States, and all Canadian provinces west to the southern Yukon Territory and eastern British Columbia.

Distribution in New Jersey: The northern long-eared bat is found State-wide.

 


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Last updated: January 28, 2014
New Jersey Field Office
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