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Northern Long-Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)
Status: Threatened with 4(d) Rule
The northern long-eared bat is one of the species of bats most impacted by the disease white-nose syndrome. Due to declines caused by white-nose syndrome and continued spread of the disease, the northern long-eared bat was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act on April 2, 2015. We also developed a final 4(d), which published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2016. The 4(d) rule specifically defines the "take" prohibitions.
Critical Habitat Determination Not Prudent (April 27, 2016)
We have determined that designating critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat is not prudent. Northern long-eared bat summer habitat is not limited or in short supply and summer habitat loss is not a range-wide threat to the species. Designating critical habitat in the areas where it summers would not benefit the northern long-eared bat, and therefore, would not be prudent. Winter habitat does have specific physical and biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species, and, therefore, meets the definition of critical habitat. However, information became available demonstrating that designating critical habitat would likely increase vandalism, disturbance, and, potentially, the spread of white-nose syndrome in the caves and mines where northern long-eared bats hibernate. Therefore, we determined that it is not prudent to designate winter habitat as critical habitat.
Final 4(d) Rule - Jan. 14, 2016
Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act directs the Service to issue regulations deemed “necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of threatened species.” It allows the Service to promulgate special rules for species listed as threatened (not endangered) that provide flexibility in implementing the ESA. We use 4(d) rules to target the take prohibitions to those that provide conservation benefits for the species. This targeted approach can reduce ESA conflicts by allowing some activities that do not harm the species to continue, while focusing our efforts on the threats that make a difference to the species’ recovery.
WNS Zone Map (1-page PDF)
Map updated June 2, 2016. The WNS Zone map is updated on the first of every month if there are new counties with verified occurrences of white-nose syndrome or Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the fungus that causes the disease.
Counties in WNS Zone (Excel Spreadsheet)
Updated May 31, 2016. Counties in the WNS Zone are updated on the first of every month if the zone changes due to new counties verified with white-nose syndrome or Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the fungus that causes the disease.
Counties in Northern Long-eared Bat Range (Excel Spreadsheet)
Updated March 31, 2016.
News Release (April 25, 2016): Critical Habitat is Not Prudent
April 12, 2016: Indiana Bat Summer Survey Guidelines Available
News Release (March 30, 2016): Searching for the Northern Long-eared Bat at Unexpected Places
About Northern Long-eared Bats
The northern long-eared bat is found in the United States from Maine to North Carolina on the Atlantic Coast, westward to eastern Oklahoma and north through the Dakotas, even reaching into eastern Montana and Wyoming. In Canada it is found from the Atlantic Coast westward to the southern Yukon Territory and eastern British Columbia.
Species Profile (Petitions, status reviews and conservation documents)
Northern Long-eared Bat Images on Flickr
Biological Opinions - final Biological Opinions for federal actions that may affect northern long-eared bats
Section 7 Technical Assistance Website - explains section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and provides step-by-step instructions for the consultation process.
White Nose-Syndrome Fact Sheet (June 2014) (2-page PDF )
Bat Box Fact Sheet
Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture (Science 1 April 11)
Archived Documents and Information Materials from Previous Federal Actions
Last updated: July 19, 2016