Northern Long-eared Bat

[AR T&E Species Home]

You can find more information about the Northern Long-eared Bat and the 4(d) Rule on the national USFWS page here.

NLEB Consultation Area Map and Final 4(d) Guidance for Arkansas PDF

To learn more about the karst environment, visit our Caves and Karst page.

Find out more about White-nose Syndrome (WNS) at:
White-nose Syndrome.org

F&W Service WNS FAQ

Fort Collins Science Center WNS Info

WNS Decontamination Guidelines

Get plans to build your own bat box here.

Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)
Status: Threatened with 4(d) Rule
Listed: April 02, 2015

For questions regarding the Northern Long-eared Bat in Arkansas, please contact Tommy Inebnit at thomas_inebnit@fws.gov or 501-513-4483.

Species Facts:
The northern long-eared bat is a medium-sized bat about 3 to 3.7 inches in length but with a wingspan of 9 to 10 inches. As its name suggests, this bat is distinguished by its long ears, particularly as compared to other bats in its genus, Myotis, which are actually bats noted for their small ears (Myotis means mouse-eared).

The Northern Long-eared Bat has a diverse diet including moths, flies, leafhoppers, caddisflies, and beetles. Bats emerge to forage at dusk in the understory of mature forests (3 to 10 ft above the ground) catching insects from the air and plucking them from the ground and foliage on forested hillsides and ridges. Moths, flies, leafhoppers, caddisflies, and beetles are typical prey, which they catch while in flight using echolocation. The Northern Long-eared Bat also feeds by gleaning motionless insects from vegetation and water surfaces.

Breeding begins in late summer or early fall when males begin swarming near hibernacula. After copulation, females store sperm during hibernation until spring, when they emerge from their hibernacula, ovulate, and the stored sperm fertilizes an egg. This strategy is called delayed fertilization. After fertilization, pregnant females migrate to summer areas where they roost in small colonies and give birth to a single pup. Maternity colonies, with young, generally have 30 to 60 bats, although larger maternity colonies have been observed. Most females within a maternity colony give birth around the same time, which may occur from late May or early June to late July, depending where the colony is located within the speciesí range. Young bats start flying by 18 to 21 days after birth. Adult northern long-eared bats can live up to 19 years.

Habitat Summary:
Northern long-eared bats arrive at the hibernacula (a shelter occupied during the winter by a dormant animal) in August or September, enter hibernation in October and November, and leave the hibernacula in March or April. Many of these caves are within the karst region. During the summer, bats typically roost singly or in colonies underneath bark or in cavities or crevices of live trees and snags or in caves and mines; they change roosts every 2-3 days. They are not dependent on certain roost trees but may select trees that retain bark and form suitable cavities such as black oak, northern red oak, silver maple, black locust, American beech, sugar maple, sourwood, and shortleaf pine.

Northern Long-eared Bats have also been observed roosting in man-made structures, such as buildings, barns, park pavilions, sheds, cabins, under eaves of buildings, behind window shutters, and in bat houses. Bats roost more often on upper and middle slopes. They migrate 35 to 55 miles between summer roosts and winter hibernaculum. They commonly overwinter in caves and abandoned mines, which have large passages and entrances, relatively constant, cooler temperatures, high humidity, and no air currents. They have been found hibernating in abandoned railroad tunnels, storm sewer entrances, hydro-electric dam facilities, old aqueducts, and dry wells. Inside the hibernacula, the bats hibernate in small crevices or cracks with very high humidity, so much so that droplets of water are often seen on their fur. Bats may use the same hibernaculum site for multiple years.

Why is it Endangered?
White-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease known to affect bats, is currently the predominant threat to this bat, especially throughout the Northeast where the species has declined by up to 99 percent from pre-WNS levels at many hibernation sites. Although the disease has not yet spread throughout the Northern Long-eared Bat’s entire range, it continues to spread and has been found in Arkansas. Experts expect that where it spreads, it will have the same devastating impact on bat populations as seen in the Northeast. Click the links in the sidebar to learn more about WNS.

Disturbance during the winter is also detrimental to bat species. Human presence in caves causes bats within range of any light or sound to at least partially arouse from hibernation, which depletes the energy reserves meant to sustain the bat through winter.

Many private and public caves have been closed to public access to reduce stress and/or damage to bats and their habitats and to prevent the further spread of WNS in Arkansas. Cave gates that limit human disturbance of the bats and/or their habitat are a good way to protect these animals. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife program can help provide funding and expertise if you are interested in protecting your property from trespassing and vandalism with a gate over the cave mouth. Contact Joe Krystofik at joe_krystofik@fws.gov or 501-513-4478 for more information about cave gates and cave protection.

Efforts are also being made to educate people about WNS and WNS decontamination procedures to reduce the risk of transmission of the the fungus to other bats and/or habitats. You can find the full decontamination guidelines here.

Range in Arkansas:
Click for the NLEB Consultation Area Map and Final 4(d) Guidance for Arkansas.

Arkansas Field Office
110 S. Amity Road
Suite 300
Conway, AR 72032

501/513 4470 (v)
501/513 4480 (f)

Last Updated: October 17, 2018

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