Endangered Species

The Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) is a medium-sized mouse-eared bat native to North America. It lives primarily in eastern and midwestern states and in parts of the south of the United States. These bats are very difficult to distinguish from other species, especially the more common little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), unless examined closely.

Common dominant trees utilized by Indiana bat throughout its range include oaks (Quercus spp.), hickories (Carya spp.), ashes (Fraxinus spp.), elms (Ulmus spp.), eastern cottonwoods (Populus deltoides), locusts (Robinia spp.), and maples (Acer spp.)

During winter, however, they cluster together and hibernate in only a few caves. Since about 1975, the population of Indiana bats has declined by about 50%. Based on a 1985 census of hibernating bats, the Indiana bat population is estimated at about 244,000. About 23% of these bats hibernate in caves in Indiana. The Indiana bat lives in caves only in winter; but, there are few caves that provide the conditions necessary for hibernation.

Overall, the bats mostly live in forest, crop fields, and grasslands. As an insectivore, the bat will eat both terrestrial and aquatic flying insects like moths, beetles, and mosquitoes and midges.

The Indiana bat is listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It has had serious population decline, estimated to be more than 50% over the 10 years.

Reasons for the bat's decline include:

  • disturbance of colonies by human beings, especially their caves used for hibernation,
  • pesticide use
  • loss of summer habitat resulting from the clearing of forest cover
  • the spread of white nose syndrome[40]and
  • wind turbines , even resulting in a December 2009 injunction against a West Virginia wind farm[41]

Endangered Species

Long Eared Bat

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