Scientific Name: Lasionycteris noctivagans
As their name suggests, silver-haired bats are best recognized by the white tips on their black/dark brown fur. This white/silver hair is most prominent on the back and is present on the rest of the body, but is absent on the face, throat, and crown. These bats weigh between 8 and 11 grams and are 9.2 to 11.5 cm long with a 27 to 31 cm wingspan.
The silver-haired bat’s range stretches from southern Canada and Alaska down to northern Mexico and from coast to coast. They can be found in different types of forests near bodies of water roosting in loose bark and tree cavities. Silver-haired bats prefer maple, ash and willow trees.
Ecology and Behavior.
Silver-haired bats are a solitary species and sexes are typically separated. During migration, females travel further north in summer months than males. Silver-haired bats typically forage in the early evening near dusk and early morning near dawn in an effort to avoiding flying at the same time as red bats, hoary bats, and big brown bats.
Food and Feeding.
Silver-haired bats are considered moth specialists, but they also feed on flies, beetles, caddisflies, spiders and termites. Their diet varies based on what’s available in their geographic location and the time of year.
Reproduction and Development.
Male and female silver-haired bats will have multiple mates during breeding season in the fall, after which females will store sperm until spring. Females typically have two pups per season and are responsible for parental care of the young.
Silver-haired bats are currently listed as “least concern” through much of their range, though they do face some threats. Habitat loss and degradation is an ongoing concern for this tree-roosting species. Wind turbines near migration and foraging sites also pose a serious threat to silver-haired bats, as well as other long-distance migrators.
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