Photo Credit: Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Myotis austroriparius (Rhoads)

OTHER NAMES: Southeastern Bat, Mississippi Myotis.

STATUS: Occurs in southern half and western half of Alabama, but may be most common in southern tier of counties. HIGHEST CONSERVATION CONCERN.

DESCRIPTION:  A large (adult wing span = 24-27 cm [9.5-10.5 in.], length of forearm = 31 to 41 mm [1.2-1.6 in.], length of foot = 9-10 mm [0.35-0.39 in.]; mass = 4-9 g [ 0.14-0.32 oz.]) bat with dull and wooly fur; dark dorsally, and distinctly paler on ventrum. Cranium globose with a sagittal crest. Calcar slightly keeled and there are long hairs between the toes.

DISTRIBUTION: Southeastern United States; extends westward from southeastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas and northward to southern Illinois and Indiana. Distribution within Alabama poorly known, but appears to be restricted to coastal plain during summer. Have been collected in caves in northern and southern Alabama in winter.

HABITAT: Riparian zones and edge habitats. Primarily a cave dwelling species, it occasionally roosts in buildings, culverts, wells, natural tree cavities, and bridges. Maternity roosts are limited to a few limestone caves in the coastal plain.

FEEDING HABITS: Feeds on a broad spectrum of insects, but some studies indicate a preference for mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. 

LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: Hibernates in northern climates but is active throughout the year in southern areas of distribution. Pregnant females form maternity colonies, usually in caves over water. Most females bear twins. Young are born with eyes closed and ears folded. Become volant about five weeks after birth. Only one maternity colony known in Alabama. 

BASIS FOR STATUS CLASSIFICATION:  All aspects of life history and ecology poorly known.


Author: Jo Ashfield Lewis