Northern Long-eared Bat
Scientific Name: Myotis septentrionalis
Like its name suggests, the northern long-eared Myotis is recognized by its long ears and long, narrow tragus. They typically weigh between 6 and 9 grams with average body length being 78 mm and a wingspan ranging from 23 to 26 cm. Northern long-eared Myotis has a longer tail than other Myotis bat species, averaging about 26 mm. Females tend to weigh more than males. Unlike other Myotis bat species, the northern long-eared Myotis does not possess a keel on the calcar and has a narrow skull with a long rostrum. Their fur is a yellow-brown color with gray sides and a white/light gray stomach and brown spotting on the shoulders.
The range of the northern long-eared Myotis stretches from Southern Canada, down the eastern coast of the US to Florida and as far west as the Dakotas. They tend to be found in boreal forests but roost in hollow trees, buildings, and under loose tree bark and hibernate in caves and underground mines.
Ecology and Behavior.
Northern long-eared Myotis spend most of the summer in the northern part of their range and find hibernation habitats in early fall. These bats will occasionally roost with other species but tend to be less social than other bats in the Myotis genus. They usually hibernate alone or in a very small group. The typical length of hibernation is eight to nine months but this time frame varies depending on the location and environment.
Food and Feeding.
The northern long-eared Myotis typically feeds on flies, moths, beetles, caddisflies, and leafhoppers.
Reproduction and Development.
Males and females roost separately, and females will form maternity colonies. Northern long-eared Myotis males tend to be promiscuous, typically mating with more than one female. Mating occurs before hibernation and females will store the sperm until pre-emergence in the spring. Females only have one pup and are responsible for all parental care for the young.
As a direct result of White-nose Syndrome (WNS), northern long-eared Myotis was recently listed as threatened by USFWS. Prior to WNS, their populations are being threatened by timber harvesting, insecticides affecting their food supply, and disturbance of caves and closing of mines where they may hibernate. One way the disturbance problem is being resolved is through the use of gates that allow bats to pass through into the cave, but not humans. Northern long-eared Myotis may be the bat species most impacted by WNS.
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