The Indiana Bat

Jadelyn Lathrop

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The Indiana Bat ~Myotis sodalis~

Indiana bats winter in caves or mines with stable, but not freezing, cold temperatures. In summer they generally roost in the loose bark of trees, either dead trees with peeling bark, or live trees with shaggy bark, such as white oak and some hickories.

The Indiana bat is a migratory species found throughout much of the eastern United States.

Endangerment

Endangered, March 11, 1967

The largest reason for the species’ decline is human visitation of hibernation sites, which stirs the bats, forcing them to use up valuable fat stores intended to nourish them through the winter. Other threats come from cave vandalism and improper cave gating and other structures that can change the flow of air in and out of the cave and block bat passage.

Saving the Indiana Bat

In recognition of Indiana bats’ declining status, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed them as endangered in 1967. Closure of caves and other protective measures for hibernacula have been crucial to Indiana bat recovery. But today, white-nose syndrome has precipitated a deadly dive in Indiana bat numbers in the eastern United States.

Description

The Indiana bat is a medium-sized bat, with a forearm length of 1.4 – 1.6 inches (in) (3.6 – 4.1 centimeters; cm). The head and body length ranges from 1.6 – 1.9 in (4.1 – 4.8 cm). The species closely resembles the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Its hind feet tend to be small and delicate with fewer, shorter hairs than other bats of the Myotis genus. The fur lacks luster. The ears and wing membranes have a dull appearance and flat coloration that does not contrast with the fur. The fur of the chest and belly is lighter than the pinkish-brown fur on the back, but does not contrast as strongly as does that of the little brown or northern long-eared bats.