National Park Service


Date of this Version



Natural Resource Report NPS/FRST/NRR 2017/1482 / NPS 207/139312, July 2017: xi, 31 pages

Published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Please cite this publication as:

Nagel, J., and J. E. Gates. 2017. Bat community composition and monitoring for white-nose syndrome at First State National Historical Park, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Natural Resource Report NPS/FRST/NRR—2017/1482. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.


United States government work. Public domain material.



In recent years, bats have faced increasingly deadly threats on multiple fronts. Cave-dwelling bats have been decimated by the emergence of a disease, white-nose syndrome (WNS), caused by a fungal pathogen, Pseudogymnoascus destructans; and tree bats are dying in large numbers at wind power facilities. First State National Historical Park (FRST) is a new national park unit located in northern Delaware and Pennsylvania. Prior to this study, little information was available on bat species and their activity and distribution within FRST. To fill this knowledge gap, we conducted an inventory of bat species present at FRST. We used mist-nets to capture bats and an ultrasonic acoustic receiver to record echolocation calls. We conducted mist-net surveys for five nights and captured 21 bats, including 6 eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) and 15 big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). We conducted acoustic surveys at six sites throughout the park for a total of 131.2 minutes of recordings. From these surveys, we collected 166 bat echolocation passes of which we identified 81% (31 passes were classified as unknown). Of the identifiable calls, 25.9% were eastern red bats, 33.3% were hoary bats (L. cinereus), and 40.7% were big brown or silver-haired bats (Lasionycterus noctivagans). We did not capture or record any little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus), northern long-eared bats (M. septentrionalis), tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), or eastern small-footed bats (M. leibii). The first three myotine species are highly susceptible to WNS, resulting in precipitous population declines elsewhere.