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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Northern Myotis - Myotis septentrionalis
Other Names:  Northern Long-eared Myotis, Northern Long-eared Bat, Myotis keenii septentrionalis

Special Status Species
Accidental Species

Global Rank: G1G2
State Rank: SU

Agency Status
USFWS: LT
USFS:
BLM: SPECIAL STATUS


 

External Links





 
General Description
Northern Myotis has relatively long ears (14-19 mm) extending < 5mm beyond the nose when pushed forward, a long pointed tragus, forearm length 34-38 mm, hind foot length 8-10 mm and tail length 35-42 mm; the calcar lacks a prominent keel (but a slight keel may be present), and the fringe of the tail is hairless or with only a few sparse hairs. Pelage and membranes are brown and usually the same color. Females are generally larger and heavier than males. Dental formula is I 2/3, C 1/1, P 3/3, M 3/3 (Nagorsen and Brigham 1993, Caceres and Barclay 2000, Adams 2003).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Northern Myotis was formerly considered a subspecies of Keen's Myotis (Myotis keenii). Northern Myotis can be distinguished in the hand from Myotis lucifugus by the longer ears (extending beyond the snout when pushed forward) and tragus and relatively longer tail; pelage color is similar, but less glossy than in Myotis lucifugus. Characteristic frequency of call is slightly higher than for Myotis lucifugus (41-45 kHz vs. 37-43 kHz) and high frequency calls may reach to 120 kHz. Myotis evotis has darker membranes and paler pelage, and the ears are longer; characteristic frequency of calls is lower (33-38 kHz) than for Northern Myotis.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 3

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
The species may be partially migratory in far eastern Montana, but there is only one documented record, an individual hibernating in an abandoned coal mine near Culbertson in January 1978 (Swenson and Shanks 1979).

Habitat
In Montana, Northern Myotis have been located hibernating in an abandoned mine in riverbreaks habitat in Richland County (Swenson and Shanks 1979). Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) prefers cooler hibernacula than Myotis lucifugus and selects narrow crevices in which to hibernate. Summer day roosts are often in cavities or crevices behind peeling bark in trees, usually in tall, wide-diameter and partially dead hardwoods (Caceres and Barclay 2000). All active season captures within the state have been in or near riparian forest dominated by cottonwood (Populus spp.) and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) typical of the Great Plains Floodplain Ecological System.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2012.  Mammals of Montana.  Second edition.  Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana.  429 pp.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
No food habits information is available from Montana. Range-wide, Northern Myotis feed on a variety of insects, oftentimes gleaning insects from foliage and sometimes from the ground (Caceres and Barclay 2000).

Ecology
No information available for the Northern Myotis from Montana. During the summer, these bats emerge shortly after sunset to forage. Their activity is bimodal, peaking 1 to 2 hours and 7 to 8 hours after sunset. They are less gregarious than M. lucifugus or other Myotis species. They tend to be solitary or found in smaller clusters than other Myotis species; one of the largest hibernating clusters was of 300 individuals mixed with about 1000 Myotis lucifugus. It also may be overlooked in hibernacula as it tends to occupy deep and narrow crevices. Longevity record is 18.5 years. Predators of Northern Myotis have not been reported (Caceres and Barclay 2000).

Reproductive Characteristics
No information from Montana. Elsewhere within the range, copulation occurs at hibernacula from late July to October (Caceres and Barclay 2000). Parturition in Montana may occur in late June or July; lactating females reported from late July through August in the Black Hills, South Dakota (Clark and Stromberg 1987).

Management
The Northern Long-eared Bat (a.k.a Northern Myotis) was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act on April 2, 2015 (80 FR 17974), due to population declines resulting from the effects of white-nose syndrome (WNS). A final 4(d) rule that specifically defines the “take” prohibitions was published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2016 (81 FR 1900). Under the final 4(d) rule, outside of the WNS zone incidental take is not prohibited. Currently, Montana is located outside of the WNS zone. Inside the WNS zone, all take within known hibernacula is prohibited, and incidental take caused by tree removal is prohibited if: (1) tree removal occurs within 0.25 mile of a known hibernaculum, at any time of year; and (2) tree removal cuts or destroys a known occupied maternity roost tree or any other trees within a 150-foot radius of the maternity roost tree during the pup season (June 1 through July 31). On April 27, 2016, it was determined that designating critical habitat for the Northern Long-eared Bat would not be prudent (81 FR 24707). More information regarding the federal status of the species can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Northern Long-eared Bat web page.

Protection of bat winter roosting habitat (abandoned mines and caves) with gating should be beneficial to this species. Protection guidelines and management protocols designated for Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Pierson et al. 1999) are also appropriate for Northern Myotis, especially during winter, and can be used as a default protocol. So little is known about Northern Myotis in Montana, including its distribution and relative abundance, that standardized surveys of potential roosts and foraging habitats are desirable as the first step to identifying the spatial and temporal context in which this species is present in the state. This basic information will make it easier to design and implement appropriate and effective conservation guidelines for the protection of important habitats and roosts.

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Adams, R.A. 2003. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West: natural history, ecology and conservation. University Press of Colorado: Boulder, CO. 289 pp.
    • Caceres, M.C. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2000. Myotis septentrionalis. Mammalian Species. 634:1-4.
    • Clark, S.G. and M.R. Stromberg. 1987. Mammals in Wyoming. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Public Education Series Number 10. xii + 314 pp.
    • Nagorsen, D.W. and R.M. Brigham. 1993. Bats of British Columbia. Volume I. The Mammals of British Columbia. UBC Press, Vancouver. 164 pp.
    • Pierson, E.D., M.C. Wackenhut, J.S. Altenbach, P. Bradley, P. Call, D.L. Genter, C.E. Harris, B.L. Keller, B. Lengus, L. Lewis, and B. Luce. 1999. Species conservation assessment and strategy for Townsend's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii townsendii and Corynorhinus townsendii pallescens). Idaho Conservation Effort, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise, Idaho. 68 pp.
    • Swenson, J.E. and G.F. Shanks, Jr. 1979. Noteworthy records of bats from northeastern Montana. Journal of Mammalogy. 60(3): 650-652
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2016. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 4(d) Rule for the Northern Long-Eared Bat. Federal Register 81(9): 1900-1922.
    • United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 2015b. Endangered and Threatened wildlife and plants; Threatened Species Status for the Northern Long-Eared Bat with 4(d) Rule; Final Rule and Interim Rule. Federal Register 80:17974-18033.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Yates, M.D. and R.M. Muzika. 2006. Effect of Forest Structure and Fragmentation on Site Occupancy of Bat Species in Missouri Ozark Forests. Journal of Wildlife Management 70(5): 1238-1248.
    • Zukal, J., J. Pikula, and H. Bandouchova. 2015. Bats as bioindicators of heavy metal pollution: history and prospect. Mammalian Biology 80(3): 220-227.
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Citation for data on this website:
Northern Myotis — Myotis septentrionalis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from