Date of this Version
The Prairie Naturalist 47: 84–93. 2015
Prior to 2009, a detailed survey of occurrence and distribution of bats in North Dakota had not been conducted. Localized surveys, occurrence reports, and museum specimens provided the only records of bats in the state. Ongoing habitat loss, exploitation of natural resources, and the impending spread of white-nose syndrome to the western United States are major threats to bat populations of the region. The objective of this study was to document presence and distributions of bat species resident in North Dakota. From 2009 to 2012, multiple mist-netting and acoustic surveys were conducted to document species presence across North Dakota. A total of 68 sites across 5 ecological regions were surveyed, with a capture total of 333 bats. The presence of 11 species was confirmed in the state. The occurrences of Corynorhinus townsendii and Myotis thysanodes represent substantial range expansions beyond previously reported species distributions, as well as the first capture of M. thysanodes in North Dakota. We also report issues with acoustic identification of M. septentrionalis and highlight the importance of using multiple sampling methods, especially for species of conservation concern. The results of this study will be valuable for informing state managers about the conservation needs of North Dakota’s bat populations, as well as providing baseline information for future research on bat populations within the state.