Fringed Myotis - Myotis thysanodes
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Although this species is distributed across much of Montana, recent surveys have found it to be uncommon within range. Species occasionally uses caves to over-winter so threats to persistence from White-Nose Syndrome are a concern, but due to its western distribution the extent of impacts are as yet unknown.
- Details on Status Ranking and Review
ScoreG - 200,000-2,500,000 km squared (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Comment268,373 square Kilometers from Natural Heritage Program range maps. Observations within range are infrequent so G is misleading
ScoreE - Relatively Stable (±25% change)
CommentHabitat is likely stable within +/- 25% since European settlement. Since the species uses mines habitat has likely increased, but this may be offset by anthropogenic degradation/ loss of other roosts.
ScoreU - Unknown. Short-term trend in population, range, area occupied, and number and condition of occurrences unknown.
CommentNo data on trends available.
ScoreD - Moderate, non-imminent threat. Threat is moderate to severe but not imminent for a significant portion of the population or area.
CommentAs this species does not occur in an area already impacted by White-Nose Syndrome, it is difficult to determine if it is biologically or behaviorally susceptible to the disease. However, other species in the same genus have suffered catastrophic declines and this species may be affected in a similar manner.
SeverityModerate - Major reduction of species population or long-term degradation or reduction of habitat in Montana, requiring 50-100 years for recovery.
CommentThe extent of WNS impacts in the west is currently unknown. If the disease dynamics are similar to the east coast, we may see declines of up to 100% for this species (High). Because many of or bats overwinter in hibernacula outside of caves, disease transmission dynamics may differ reduce population level impacts of WNS sensitive species.
ScopeModerate - 20-60% of total population or area affected
CommentVery few of our bats hibernate in caves and mines so the extent of WNS impacts to the state’s population are difficult to quantify. Given the disease’s impacts on other related species, WNS will likely impact more than 20% of the population.
ImmediacyModerate - Threat is likely to be operational within 2-5 years.
CommentBased on the average rate of spread, we should expect to detect WNS or the causal pathogen to reach Montana within 5 years.
ScoreB - Moderately Vulnerable. Species exhibits moderate age of maturity, frequency of reproduction, and/or fecundity such that populations generally tend to recover from decreases in abundance over a period of several years (on the order of 5-20 years or 2-5 generations); or species has moderate dispersal capability such that extirpated populations generally become reestablished through natural recolonization (unaided by humans).
CommentModerately Vulnerable. Species exhibits moderate age of maturity, frequency of reproduction, and/or fecundity such that populations generally tend to recover from decreases in abundance within 5-20 years or 2-5 generations. Species has good dispersal ca
ScoreC - Moderate. Generalist. Broad-scale or diverse (general) habitat(s) or other abiotic and/or biotic factors are used or required by the species but some key requirements are scarce in the generalized range of the species within the area of interest.
CommentMakes use of a broad range of foraging habitats. Across the species range active season roosts have been documented in caves, mines, and buildings, and trees. Hibernacula may be more limited, and to date a several individuals has been found overwintering
Raw Conservation Status Score
3.5 + 0 (geographic distribution) + 0 (environmental specificity) + 0 (long-term trend) + -0.75 (threats) = 2.75
The Fringed Myotis is a member of the long-eared myotis group. Although similar to Western Long-eared Myotis (Myotis evotis), it is the only species with a well-developed fringe of hairs on the posterior margin of the uropatagium, and is larger than most other Myotis, except in ear size. The robust calcar is not distinctly keeled. The skull is relatively large, with a well-developed sagittal crest, and 38 teeth (dental formula: I 2/3, C 1/1, P 3/3, M 3/3). Color of the pelage varies from yellowish-brown to darker olivaceous tones; color tends to be darker in northern populations. The ears and membranes are blackish-brown and tend to contrast with the pelage. Length of the head and body is 43 to 59 millimeters, length of the tail is 34 to 45 millimeters, length of the ear is 16 to 20 millimeters, length of the forearm is 40 to 47 millimeters, and weight is 5.4 to 10.0 grams. Females are significantly larger in head, body and forearm size (O'Farrell and Studier 1980, Nagorsen and Brigham 1993, Foresman 2012).
The presence of a well-developed fringe of hairs along the posterior edge of the uropatagium is unique among the Myotis found in Montana, including the other long-eared species. The forearm is longer (usually more than 40 millimeters) than all other species of Myotis except some individuals of M. evotis (a long-eared species) and M. volans (a short-eared species with a keeled calcar). The skull is broader than other Myotis species, with a distance across the upper molars more than 6.2 millimeters.
Western Hemisphere Range
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version)
Map Help and Descriptions
(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
No information on movements in Montana is available (Foresman 2012). The Fringed Myotis has been observed in Montana during April through October. While this may be indicative of migration out of the state for winter, a few individuals have been found hibernating in caves.
The few Montana records indicate that the habitats in Montana that are used by the Fringed Myotis are similar to other regions in the interior West (Foresman 2012). It has been captured in ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forest while foraging over willow/cottonwood areas along creeks and over pools, and taken in caves (Lewis and Clark Caverns); one individual was captured in an urban setting in Missoula (Hoffmann et al. 1969, Butts 1993, Dubois 1999).
Habitat information gathered from range-wide studies state the Fringed Myotis is found primarily in desert shrublands, sagebrush-grassland, and woodland habitats (ponderosa pine forest, oak and pine habitats, Douglas-fir), although it has been recorded in spruce-fir habitat in New Mexico. It also occurs at low elevations along the Pacific Coast, and in badlands in the northern Great Plains (Jones et al. 1983, Humes et al. 1999). It roosts in caves, mines, rock crevices, buildings, and other protected sites. Nursery colonies occur in caves, mines, and sometimes buildings (Easterla 1973, O'Farrell and Studier 1980, Jones et al. 1983). Fringed Myotis in riparian areas tend to be more active over intermittent streams with wider channels (5.5 to 10.5 meters) than ones with channels less than 2.0 meters wide (Seidman and Zabel 2001).
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:
- 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);
- Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
- Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
- 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: mtnhp.org/requests
) 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.
- 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.
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
Forest and Woodland Systems
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Sparse and Barren Systems
Wetland and Riparian Systems
- Occasionally Associated with these Ecological Systems
Forest and Woodland Systems
Human Land Use
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Sparse and Barren Systems
Wetland and Riparian Systems
Food habits have not been studied in the state. Range-wide information state that Fringed Myotis are insectivorous; beetles occurred in 73% and moths in 36% of fecal pellets in New Mexico (Black 1974). The diet in Oregon included over 40% moths, with lesser amounts of five other insect orders and spiders (Verts and Carraway 1998); moths and beetles have been reported in the diet in South Dakota (Turner and Jones 1968).
The diet in Montana has not been reported or studied. The wings of the Fringed Myotis have a high puncture strength, which is characteristic of bats that forage by gleaning from the ground or near thick or thorny vegetation (O'Farrell and Studier 1980); when in flight, Fringed Myotis often forages close to the vegetative canopy.
No ecological information is available for the Fringed Myotis in Montana. Across its range, including the Black Hills region, the known activity period of the Fringed Myotis extends from April through September (O'Farrell and Studier 1980, Jones et al. 1983), with hibernation extending from September to April or early May; activity is greatest during the first two hours after sunset. All Montana records to date (n = 13) have occurred from mid-June to early September. Predators of Fringed Myotis are largely unknown; a domestic cat captured a juvenile in Montana (Hoffmann et al. 1969).
Females generally are found at lower elevations than males (Cryan et al. 2000), perhaps because reproductive individuals need warmer roosts in which to raise young. Males and females form separate colonies in summer, although an occasional male may be found in a maternity colony. Sex ratios in trapping samples may be biased because of sex-related differences in habitat use (Bogan et al. 1996). Individuals in an attic complex maternity colony tended to roost in the open in tightly packed clusters. The Fringed Myotis is found with many other bat species (O'Farrell and Studier 1980, Butts 1993, Choate and Anderson 1997, Dubois 1999), including Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii), Western Long-eared Myotis (M. evotis), Long-legged Myotis (M. volans), Little Brown Myotis (M. lucifugus), Yuma Myotis (M. yumanensis), Western Small-footed Myotis (M. ciliolabrum), and California Myotis (M. californicus), each of which is present in Montana. However, the ecology of the Fringed Myotis in Montana is largely unknown and has not been studied.
There is almost no information on reproduction of the Fringed Myotis in Montana, and no published studies. A juvenile was collected in Missoula County in early September, and an adult female in mid-June in Ravalli County, indicating that reproduction occurs in Montana (Hoffmann et al. 1969).
Information gathered from studies in other areas of the species' range indicate apparently little variation in the timing of reproduction throughout the range. In northeastern New Mexico, mating occurs in fall, ovulation, fertilization, and implantation occur from late April to mid-May, gestation lasts 50 to 60 days, and young are born in late June to mid-July. In South Dakota, pregnant females have been captured in mid-June, lactating females in late July through August, and flying young-of-the-year as early as late July or early August (O'Farrell and Studier 1980, Jones et al. 1983, Bogan et al. 1996). The litter size is 1. Young can fly at 16 to 17 days. Maternity colony sizes range up to several hundred individuals. Individuals may live 11 years or more (Paradiso and Greenhall 1967); the record is 18.3 years (Verts and Carraway 1998).
Although no management measures have been enacted specifically for the protection of Fringed Myotis in Montana, protection of bat roosting habitat through gating of caves and abandoned mines should be beneficial for this species. Protection guidelines and management protocols designated for Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) (Pierson et al. 1999) are also appropriate for Fringed Myotis (the two species coexist over much of their ranges) and are recommended as default measures until specific conservation protocols for this species are developed. So little is known about Fringed 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 to protect important habitats and roosts.
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
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- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
Do you know of a citation we're missing?
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