Nebraska Academy of Sciences
Current status of the Northern Long-eared Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) in northwestern Nebraska
Date of this Version
Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 35 (2015), 34–40.
The Northern Long-eared Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis; Order: Chiroptera) occurs in eastern, southern, and northern Nebraska, but its current distribution in northwestern parts of the state is unclear due to its recent arrival to the region. We investigated the status of this species in the Pine Ridge via mist net (2011-2014) and acoustic surveys (2014). We documented nine species of bats in the region, including M. septentrionalis. Of 423 total bats, M. septentrionalis was represented by four individuals, the fewest of all species during our four-year survey. We only documented M. septentrionalis in Sheridan County; this county is where the species was first reported in the Pine Ridge. Possibly acoustic calls of M. septentrionalis were recorded along the White River in Dawes County, but they likely represented variant calls from other Myotis species, such as the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus). Until more conclusive evidence is obtained from Dawes County, we do not consider M. septentrionalis as part of the bat fauna from the county. Captures of three lactating M. septentrionalis are the best evidence of a reproducing population in the Pine Ridge. We conclude that the Northern Long-eared Myotis currently is not widely distributed in northwestern Nebraska, especially during summer when females bear and raise young. During migratory periods, however, limited evidence suggests individuals occur across a broader area using more habitats while in route to and from hibernacula. Periodic surveys are warranted to monitor the status of this species in the region. Additional research to determine summer and winter roosts would promote and help to conserve habitats for this species in Nebraska as M. septentrionalis recently was listed as federally threatened in the United States.
Copyright (c) 2015 Keith Geluso, Cliff A. Lemen, and Patricia W. Freeman.