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Brief Summary

    Eastern small-footed myotis: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

    The eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii) is a species of vesper bat. It can be found in Ontario and Quebec in Canada and in the Eastern United States. It is among the smallest bats in eastern North America and is known for its small feet and black face-mask. Until recently all North American small-footed Myotis were considered to be "Myotis leibii". The western population is now considered to be a separate species, Myotis ciliolabrum. The Eastern small footed bat is rare throughout its range, although the species may be locally abundant where suitable habitat exists. Studies suggest white-nose syndrome has caused declines in their populations. However, most occurrences of this species have only been counted within the past decade or two and are not revisited regularly, making their population status difficult to assess. Additionally, bat populations in the Eastern U.S. have typically been monitored using surveys conducted in caves and mines in the winter, but small-footed bats hibernate in places that make them unlikely to be encountered during these surveys. As a result, numbers of small-footed bats counted in winter tend to be low and relatively variable compared to other species of bats. Many biologists believe the species is stable, having declined little in recent times, but that it is vulnerable, especially in its cave hibernacula.

Comprehensive Description

    Eastern small-footed myotis
    provided by wikipedia

    The eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii) is a species of vesper bat. It can be found in Ontario and Quebec in Canada and in the Eastern United States.[1] It is among the smallest bats in eastern North America[2] and is known for its small feet and black face-mask. Until recently all North American small-footed Myotis were considered to be "Myotis leibii". The western population is now considered to be a separate species, Myotis ciliolabrum. The Eastern small footed bat is rare throughout its range, although the species may be locally abundant where suitable habitat exists.[3] Studies suggest white-nose syndrome has caused declines in their populations.[4][5][6] However, most occurrences of this species have only been counted within the past decade or two and are not revisited regularly, making their population status difficult to assess. Additionally, bat populations in the Eastern U.S. have typically been monitored using surveys conducted in caves and mines in the winter, but small-footed bats hibernate in places that make them unlikely to be encountered during these surveys.[3][7] As a result, numbers of small-footed bats counted in winter tend to be low and relatively variable compared to other species of bats. Many biologists believe the species is stable, having declined little in recent times, but that it is vulnerable, especially in its cave hibernacula.

    Description

    The Eastern small footed bat is between 65 and 95 millimeters in length, has a wingspan of 210 to 250 millimeters, and weighs between 4 and 8 grams.[8] The bat got its name from its abnormally small hind feet, which are only 7 to 8 millimeters long.[7] The fur on the dorsal side of their body is dark at the roots, and fades to a light brown at the tips, which gives the bats a signature shiny, yellow-brown appearance. The fur on the dorsal side of the body is a dull gray color, which is believed to help camouflage themselves in their hibernacula.[9] The defining characteristic of this bat is its face-mask, which is completely black.[7] They also have black ears, wings and interfemoral membrane, (the membrane between the legs and tail).[9] Like all bats, the Eastern small-footed bat has a patagium that connects the body to the forelimbs and tail, allowing the animal to fly. Their head is very flat and short, with a forehead that slopes gradually away from the rostrum, a feature that is unique to other individuals in the Myotis species.[7] They have erect ears, which are very broad at the base and a short flat nose. They have a keeled calcar (protruding cartridge on the hind legs to support the interfemoral membrane) as well as a pointed tragus Their tail is between 25-45 millimeters in length and protrudes past their interfemoral membrane, and they have a dental formula of 2/3, 1/1, 3/3, 3/3.[7]

    Range and distribution

    The range of this species includes Northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, East to the Appalachian Mountains and Ohio River Basin, North into New England, southern Ontario and Quebec.[10] Distribution of the bats is spotty within their entire range, and they are considered to be very uncommon. These bats prefer to reside in deciduous or coniferous forests. They are active in mountain ranges from 240–1125 meters in height. During the spring, summer, and autumn they prefer to roost at emergent rock-outcrops such as cliffs, bluffs, shale barrens, and talus slopes, as well as man-made structures, including buildings, joints between segments of cement guard rails, turnpike tunnels, road-cuts, and scree covered dams. The largest populations of Myotis leibii have been found in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Western Virginia. (red list) The total count of individuals in all hibernacula in which they have been found is 3,000, with roughly 60% of the total number from just two sites in New York.[11] Unfortunately, 90% of their habitat is on private land which makes it difficult to protect them.[11]

    Diet

    The eastern small-footed Myotis is believed to feed primarily on flying insects such as beetles, mosquitoes, moths, and flies, (Barbour and Davis 1969; Harvey et al. 1999; Linzey 1998; Merritt 1987[12][13]) and are capable of filling their stomachs within an hour of eating.[14] They are nighttime foragers and usually forage in and along wooded areas at and below canopy height, over streams and ponds, and along cliffs. Moths compose nearly half of their diet, and they forage primarily on soft-bodied prey [15] It is believed that the avoidance of hard prey is due to their small, delicate skulls. The Food habits of M. leibii are similar to those of the closely related California (M. californicus) and western small-footed bats (M. ciliolabrum), as well as other North American Myotis (e.g., little brown bat, (M. lucifugus), and northern bat, (M. septentrionalis).[16]

    Hibernation

    The Eastern small- footed bat is most often detected during hibernation, and has been counted at approximately 125 hibernacula.[17] They are one of the last species to enter hibernation in the fall and the first to leave in the spring, with a hibernation period lasting from late November to early April. They have been found in very cold caves and mines and can tolerate lower temperatures than other bat species. (Whitaker and Hamilton 1998) Unlike most other bat species they prefer to hibernate in caves and mines that are very short in length (150m) and are most often found hibernating near the entrance of their hibernacula where temperatures sometimes dip below zero, and the humidity is very low. (Barbour and Davis 1969; Merritt 1987; Harvey 1992). This location choice may put them at a greater risk of white nose syndrome and estimates from hibernating bats suggest the disease caused a 12% decrease in their population since 2006.[18] These bats also tend to hibernate individually, or in groups of less than 50, and have also been found hibernating with other species of bats, which makes them very difficult to find.[14] Many bat biologists have speculated that the species may hibernate outside of caves and mines. Skin temperature patterns of small-footed bats found roosting on talus slopes during periods of extreme cold in March provide support for this idea.[3]

    Spring and summer roosting

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    An eastern small-footed myotis at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia

    Very little is known about the summer roosting locations of this species, as well as where maternal colonies are formed, which makes a proper species distribution estimate difficult to obtain. The first study into the summer roosting habits was only done in 2011 so information is scarce. This study performed by Johnson, Kiser, Watrous, and Peterson discovered that these bats most commonly use ground level rock roosts in talus slopes, rock fields and vertical cliff faces for their summer roosts.[19] On average they change their roosts every 1.1 days, males travel about 41 meters between consecutive roosts and females around 67 meters. They also found that females roosting sites were closer to ephemeral water sources than male’s roosts. Females who have young require roost sites that receive a lot of sunlight in order to keep the pups warm while the mother is away from the nesting site.[20] Summer roosting habitats are very difficult to find, and may be threatened by mining, quarrying, oil and gas drilling and other mineral extraction, as well as logging, sprawl highway construction, wind energy and other forms of agricultural, industrial and residential development.[18] However, it is also likely that some of the above disturbances could also create roosting sites for the species.

    Mating and reproduction

    One of the reasons this bat is in so much danger is its slow reproduction rate. The Eastern small-footed bat usually has only one offspring a year, although a few instances of twins have been noted. Mating most often occurs in autumn and the female stores the male’s sperm throughout hibernation in the winter. Fertilization occurs in the spring once the females are active again, and gestation occurs between 50–60 days with young being born in late May and early June. Mating has also been noted to occur throughout the hibernation period if individuals are awake. During the time of breeding large number of bats come together in a behavior commonly known as "swarming." All bats of this species are polyandrous, meaning they mate with multiple partners throughout the mating period. This mating behavior allows them to increase the likelihood of copulation, and therefore increase their reproductive success.

    Males initiate copulation by mounting the female and tilting her hear back 90 degrees. The male then secures his position by biting and pulling back on the hairs at the base of the female’s skull. The male then uses his thumbs to further stabilize his position and enters the female under her interfemoral membrane. Both individuals have been noted to be very quiet during the copulation process. Once the process is over the male dismounts the female and flies away to find another mate.

    When born the newborn bat, which is called a "pup" is completely dependent on its mother. They weigh between 20-35% of their mother's body weight. Newborn bats are called pups, and are dependent on their mothers.[10] They weigh between 20-35% of their mother's body weight. The young’s large body size is believed to lead to high-energy expenditure from the mother, which is what limits her to only having one offspring a year.[20]

    Threats

    The main threat to this species is habitat disturbance, both natural and human caused. They are also under great threat of white nosed syndrome, pollution (especially water pollution) and human disturbance during hibernation. Very low levels of light, noise and heat are sufficient enough to wake hibernating bats. Once awoke the bats begin to expend energy and deplete critical fat reserves. If these disturbances are repeated bats, especially juveniles become very susceptible to death. White nosed syndrome is a fungal infection that attacks bats while they hibernate. 7 million bats of 6 different species are estimated to have been killed since 2006. There has been a 12 percent decline in eastern small-footed bats from white nosed syndrome alone. Due to their dependency on rare ecological features where they nest they are at particularly high risk from mining, quarrying, oil and gas drilling and other mineral extraction, as well as logging, highway construction, wind energy and other forms of agricultural industrial and residential development.

    Conservation

    Although the Eastern small-footed bat is listed as a species of least concern on the IUCN red list, many states in which the bat resides have begun listing it has a threatened species and have begun conservation efforts in order to improve its numbers. This species is not protected by federal law, but was a former C2 candidate for listing prior to the abolishment of that category by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service in 1996.[21] Some states (e.g. Pennsylvania) have given the species legal protection while others have recognized its apparently low numbers and consider the eastern small-footed Myotis a species of concern. In the report Species of Special Concern in Pennsylvania by Genoways and Brenner (1985),[21] the Pennsylvania Biological Survey assigned Myotis leibii the status of "threatened". Other states, such as Virginia, are currently working to get the Eastern small-footed Myotis legal protection. Despite these efforts not many conservation projects have been put in place to help the species. Due to their strange hibernation patterns, and the lack of information regarding their spring and summer roosting locations proper conservation efforts are very difficult. The bats will not usually use bat boxes like many other bat species, due to their tendency to nest alone or in very small groups, so this is not an appropriate action to assist in habitat disturbance issues with this species.

    Longevity

    The eastern small-footed bat has been recorded living up to the age of 12 years.[8]

    See also

    References

    1. ^ a b Arroyo-Cabrales, J. & Ticul Alvarez Castaneda, S. (2008). "Myotis leibii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 17 January 2009..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    2. ^ Blasco, J. "Myotis leibii". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
    3. ^ a b c Moosman; Warner; Hendren; Hosler (2015). "Potential for monitoring eastern small-footed bats on talus slopes". Northeastern Naturalist. 22. doi:10.1656/045.022.0102.
    4. ^ Francl, Karen E.; Ford, W. Mark; Sparks, Dale W.; Brack, Virgil (2011-12-30). "Capture and Reproductive Trends in Summer Bat Communities in West Virginia: Assessing the Impact of White-Nose Syndrome". Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. 3 (1): 33–42. doi:10.3996/062011-JFWM-039. ISSN 1944-687X.
    5. ^ Moosman; Veilleux; Pelton; Thomas (2013). "Changes in Capture Rates in a Community of Bats in New Hampshire during the Progression of White-nose Syndrome". Northeastern Naturalist. 20. doi:10.1656/045.020.0405.
    6. ^ Turner; Reeder; Coleman (2011). "Changes in Capture Rates in a Community of Bats in New Hampshire during the Progression of White-nose Syndrome". Bat Research News.
    7. ^ a b c d e Best, T.; Jennings, J. (1997). "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal register notice of a 90-day finding for Eastern small-footed bat and Northern Long-eared bat". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 547: 1–6.
    8. ^ a b Linzey, D.; Brecht, C. "Myotis leibii (Audubon and Bachman); Eastern small-footed Bat". Discover Life. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
    9. ^ a b Chapman, B (2007). "The Land Manager's Guide to Mammals of the South. Durham, NC". The Nature Conservancy. 191: 1–559.
    10. ^ a b Best, T.; Jennings, J. (1997). "Myotis leibi" (PDF). Mammalian Species. 547: 1–6.
    11. ^ a b Erdle Y., S. Hobson (2001). Current status and conservation strategy for the eastern small footed Myotis (Myotis leibii), Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, National Heritage Technical Report: #00-19.
    12. ^ Johnson & Gates (2007). "Food Habits of Myotis leibii during Fall Swarming in West Virginia". Northeastern Naturalist. doi:10.1656/1092-6194(2007)14[317:fhomld]2.0.co;2.
    13. ^ Moosman; et al. (2007). "Food Habits of Eastern Small-footed Bats (Myotis leibii) in New Hampshire". American Midland Naturalist. 158: 354–360. doi:10.1674/0003-0031(2007)158[354:fhoesb]2.0.co;2.
    14. ^ a b Best, T., J.S. Altenback., J.M. Harvey Eastern small-footed bat. The Tennessee Bat Working Group.
    15. ^ Freeman, P. W. (1981). "Correspondence of food habits and morphology in insectivorous bats". Journal of Mammalogy. 62: 166–173. doi:10.2307/1380489.
    16. ^ Whitaker, J. O.; Masser, C.; Cross, S. P. (1981). "Food habits if Eastern Oregon bats, based on stomach and scat analyses". Northwest Science. 55: 281–292.
    17. ^ Arryo-Cabrales, J., T.A. Castaneda (2008). Myothis Leibii in IUCN red list. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 13.1.
    18. ^ a b Salazar, K., M, Matteson (2010). Petition to list the Eastern small-footed bat Myotis leibii and Northern Long eastern bat Myotis septentrionais as threatened of endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Center for Biological Diversity.
    19. ^ Johnson, J.S.; Kiser, J.D.; Watrous, K.S.; Peterson, T.S. (2011). "Day-Roost of Myotis leibii in the Appalachian Ridge and valley of Western Virginia". Northern Naturalist. 18 (1): 96–106. doi:10.1656/045.018.0109.
    20. ^ a b Johnson, J.; Gates, E. (2008). "Spring migration and roost selection of female Myotis leibii in Maryland". Northeastern Naturalist. 15 (3): 453–460. doi:10.1656/1092-6194-15.3.453.
    21. ^ a b Heoways. H., F.J. Brenner (1985). Species of Special Concern in Pennsylvania. Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
    Species of genus Myotis
     title=
    Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
    provided by AnAge articles
    Maximum longevity: 12 years (wild)

Distribution

    Distribution
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Eastern small-footed bats are native to the United States and Canada. Despite their wide distribution, they are one of the rarest bats in North America. They range from as far north as Ontario, to as far south as Georgia, and as far west as Oklahoma. This species has been documented in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. They are found in the Appalachian mountains north to southeastern Canada and the New England states. In the southern parts of its range, eastern small-footed bats are limited to caves and rocky outcrops in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and northern Georgia.

    Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

Morphology

    Morphology
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Eastern small-footed bats are the smallest of the Myotis genus ranging from 3.5 to 6 grams with a length of 75 to 85 mm and a wing span of 210 to 250 mm. They derive their common name from the fact that they are the only member of the Myotis genus (in Virginia) with feet measuring less than 9 mm. The sexes are similar in coloration and size. Their fur is black at the root with brown shiny tips; this gives them their glossy yellowish-brown appearance. Their underside is a dull grayish-brown. The completely black face mask is its most unique feature. They also have black ears, wings, and interfemoral membranes (a stretch of membrane that extends between the legs to the tail). Females have two mammae (or milk glands). They have a strongly keeled calcar (a protruding piece of cartilage on the hind leg to support the intefemoral membrance) and a pointed tragus (a fleshy projection which extends from the base of the ear) of about 9 mm in length. Their skulls are relatively flat, short, and fragile. Their dental formula is: incisors 2/3, canines 1/1, premolars 3/3, and molars 3/3. Their foreheads slope gradually away from the rostrum lacking the typical prominent forehead of most Myotis species. Their ears are erect and broad at the base and their noses are blunt. Their tails extend beyond the interfemoral membrane.

    Eastern small-footed bats are often confused with two other members of the bat family: little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus) and tri-colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus). Little brown myotis are larger in size and have no mask or keel on the calcar. Tri-colored bats have a blunt tragus, no keel, and a pink coloring on their forearm.

    Range mass: 3.5 to 6 g.

    Range length: 75 to 85 mm.

    Range wingspan: 210 to 250 mm.

    Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

    Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Habitat

    Habitat
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Eastern small-footed bats roost during the spring and summer in buildings, bridges, caves, mines, in hollow trees, tunnels, rock crevices, beneath rocks, and in rocky outcrops. They prefer colder and drier hibernacula than other Myotis species, often seeking the coldest locations within a cave to roost and hibernate. They prefer short caves - often less than 150 m in length - and return to the same spot annually. Across combined observed accounts, 125 caves and mines throughout its range host eastern small-footed bats during hibernation. 90% of their habitat is on private land which is vulnerable to alteration. Only 3.8% of U.S. Forest service upland hardwood, bottomland hardwood, and pine-hardwood forests can support them. Required elevation differs by geographic location. In the 1997 Mammalian Species account by Best and Jennings, the elevation in Virginia is reported at 750 m but ranges from 300-750 m in Pennsylvania.

    Range elevation: 300 to 750 m.

    Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

    Terrestrial Biomes: forest

    Other Habitat Features: caves

Trophic Strategy

    Trophic Strategy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Eastern small-footed bats are insectivores, specializing in nocturnal flying insects while staying 1 to 3 meters off the ground. Prey include beetles, mosquito, moths, and flies. Occasionally they feed on ants as well. One study of fecal samples during fall swarming found 7 orders, 1 superfamily, and 9 families of insects. The insects were very diverse but moths were consumed most abundantly. When foraging, they fly slowly and often feed over water where nocturnal insects are abundant and sometimes fill their stomach within an hour of the start of their foraging bout. They have also been observed feeding in dense forested areas using a gleaning strategy, which is described as eating insects from plants, rocks, or other surfaces. This type of feeding is considered the most efficient for bats with long-wing loading. Eastern small-footed bats have short, broad wings with rounded wingtips to that improve maneuverability in dense vegetation.

    Animal Foods: insects

    Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

Associations

    Associations
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Eastern small footed bats host the following ectoparasites: mites (Androlaelaps casalis and Cryptonyssus desultorius), chiggers (Leptotrombidium myotis), and ticks (Ornithodorus kelleyi). Females in maternity colonies have an increased probability of exposure to ectoparasites. Females in northern regions of the United States are more likely to carry the Trypanosoma infection originating from the bat bug, Cimex brevis. These bat bugs are common in maternity colonies in Ontario.

    Commensal/Parasitic Species:

    • mites (Androlaelaps casalis)
    • mites (Cryptonyssus desultorius)
    • chiggers (Leptotrombidium myotis)
    • ticks (Ornithodorus kelleyi)
    • white-nose syndrome fungus (Geomyces destructans)
    • bat bug (Cimex brevis )
    • Trypanosoma
    Associations
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    During the summer months, eastern small footed bats are found in cracks and crevices which reduce the chance of predation. Little is known about their specific predators, but bats are often eaten by hawks and owls, snakes, raccoons, and weasels.

Behavior

    Behavior
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Eastern small-footed bats use echolocation to locate prey, typical among insectivores. Search-phase call is first used to locate an insect. While in pursuit, an approach-phase call is emitted. Immediately before consuming prey, they emit a terminal-phase call or feeding buzz. Both the approach-phase (pre-buzz call) and the terminal-phase (buzz call) are used to determine a range on the prey and maintain the location of the prey item. In one study the duration of search-phase calls were 2.8 ms and other studies have recorded calls as long as 5 ms. The minimum frequency is 46.1 KHz and the maximum frequency is 84.5 KHz.

    Communication Channels: acoustic

    Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; echolocation ; chemical

Life Expectancy

    Life Expectancy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Eastern small-footed bats are estimated to live 6 to 12 years in the wild. This is affected by predation, habitat availability, and exposure to parasites or fungi. The maximum recorded lifespan in captivity was 12 years. In northern regions of their geographic range, males have a higher rate of survival (75%) than females (42%). This could be due to the higher demand on females during reproduction. Maternity colonies are not always present, so there is a large increase in energy output for thermoregulation of both pregnant and lactating females compared to those involved in clustering behaviors.

    Eastern small-footed bats live about 6 to 12 years in the wild. This depends on predators, habitat availability, and parasites or fungi. In captivity, the maximum recorded lifespan is 12 years. In northern parts of their range, males are more likely to survive than females. The survival rate for males is 75% and the survival rate for females is 42%. This might be because females have to use more energy during the reproduction process. Females who are pregnant or nursing also use more energy to stay warm if they aren't in a maternity colony.

    Range lifespan
    Status: captivity:
    12 (high) years.

    Typical lifespan
    Status: wild:
    6 to 12 years.

    Average lifespan
    Status: captivity:
    12 years.

Reproduction

    Reproduction
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Swarming, which is important for mate selection, breeding, and hibernacula selection, occurs from late summer through early fall. Eastern small-footed bats are polygynandrous, so both males and females have many mates.

    In the late summer through early fall, many eastern small-footed bats gather together in the same spot. This is important for breeding and for choosing locations to hibernate. Both males and females have multiple mates.

    Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

    Maternity colonies have been observed in New Hampshire, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Ontario. These colonies ranged from a 12 to 33 individuals and the roost locations were diverse. Thirteen individuals were found in rock crevices, 20 in guardrail crevices on a concrete bridge, 12 behind a shed door, and others in wood piles and picnic shelters. Little is known about their breeding behavior. However, one study found a maternity colony in an abandoned cabin in North Carolina. This colony consisted of 33 individuals: 22 adult females, 1 non-reproductive adult male, 3 juvenile males, and 7 juvenile females. Female eastern small-footed bats typically have one offspring per year between May and July. Sperm is stored throughout hibernation, where the female is in sub-estrus, from mid-November to March. Mating has also been documented during the winter if a male and a female are aroused from hibernation at the same time. This is when the female releases an egg and delayed fertilization occurs.

    During reproduction, males initiate copulation and the female's role is passive. Both sexes are quiet throughout copulation. The male mounts the female and tilts her head back to a 90 degree angle by biting down on the hairs at the base of the skull. The male uses his thumbs to further stabilize his position on the female as he moves his projecting penis below her interfemoral membrane. The interfemoral membrane does not hinder posterior copulation due to the free movement of the penis. After the male has entered the female the penis appears to move rapidly and independently of any movements by the hindquarters.

    Newborn eastern small-footed bats weigh 20 to 35% of their mother's weight. This large size is thought to limit the number of offspring to one because another fetus would overexert the mother while foraging. There is a 1:1 sex ratio at birth. When raising young, females choose the site with the highest solar exposure to decrease energy expenditure. Warmer sites provide thermal stability for young when the female goes out on foraging trips.

    Breeding interval: Once per year

    Breeding season: Fall swarm

    Range number of offspring: 1 to 1.

    Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous ; sperm-storing ; delayed fertilization

    Average number of offspring: 1.

    Only females care for newborns. They go on foraging trips for food, feed, protect, and teach the young. Mothers leave the newborn soon after birth to look for food. Weaning time is not known.

    Parental Investment: female parental care ; pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

Conservation Status

    Conservation Status
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    In 2009, eastern small-footed bats were were placed on many conservation lists. In Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and Vermont they are listed as "critically imperiled". In Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and New York, they is listed as "imperiled". In Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Georgia they are listed as a "species of special concern." In Pennsylvania and Vermont they are listed as "threatened," and are endangered statewide in New Hampshire. On a federal level, they are listed as a species of special concern and is under review by the Endangered Species Act. The state of Michigan gives no special status and the IUCN Red List lists them as least concern with a stable population trend. They are threatened by human activities because of their reliance on forests for foraging. Activties such as logging, wind turbines, agricultural and urban development contribute to foraging habitat destruction. Oil, gas, and mineral development can destroy roosting sites and contaminents can leak into local streams.

    Temperate North American bats are now threatened by a fungal disease called “white-nose syndrome.” This disease has devastated eastern North American bat populations at hibernation sites since 2007. The fungus, Geomyces destructans, grows best in cold, humid conditions that are typical of many bat hibernacula. The fungus grows on, and in some cases invades, the bodies of hibernating bats and seems to result in disturbance from hibernation, causing a debilitating loss of important metabolic resources and mass deaths. Mortality rates at some hibernation sites have been as high as 90%.

    US Federal List: no special status

    CITES: no special status

    State of Michigan List: no special status

    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

Benefits

    Benefits
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    Bats are noted carriers of rabies, which results in a nearly 100% fatality rate if not detected on time. Five out of 45 species of bats has been recorded transmitting rabies to humans in the United States, one of which is suspected to be the eastern small-footed bat. Eastern small-footed bats might also carry Histoplasmosis, a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. This presents itself with flu-like symptoms and disappears with antifungals and sometimes without need for any treatment. Eastern small-footed bats might also be considered a nuisance because they roost in human structures.

    Negative Impacts: injures humans (carries human disease)

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    Eastern small footed bats prey on beetles and mosquitoes which are pests to humans and agriculture.

    Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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    Eastern small-footed bats became a larger focus for research after fossils were discovered in the Cumberland Cave in Maryland in 1972 and Big Bone Cave in Tennessee in 1975. Species which are closely related were discovered in 1908 in caves in Arkansas from the middle to late Pleistocene. Myotis lebii was previously thought to be a subspecies of Myotis cililabrum, which inhabits areas of the western United States. Genetic analysis isolated M. leibii to its current range and determined that it was a separate species.

    A 1979 study estimated that just 15 percent of all Myotis individuals in late-summer in Virginia caves are Myotis leibii. It is unclear if this is a true indication of their rarity or if they are often overlooked due to their concealed roosting sites within caves.