The gray bat is a medium-sized bat, approximately 3.
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It weighs about half an ounce. This bat can be found in the same areas as other Myotis, but is distinguished by the uniformly- colored hair shafts that range in color from gray to reddish-brown. Gray bats are reliant on limestone cave systems and are found in oak-hickory forests in the Ozark highlands.
This species typically selects caves near water that contain domed ceilings for maternity sites, as these areas will allow for colonies to most efficiently trap heat for the rearing of pups. To date, all caves with gray bats in the state have been used as both maternity sites and summer roosts; however, no hibernation colonies have ever been documented.
Nine gray bat maternity sites are known in Oklahoma; sites have been found in Adair, Delaware, Ottawa, and Cherokee counties. While a few individuals may overwinter in Oklahoma, the majority of gray bats migrate to caves in Arkansas and Missouri to hibernate. Life Cycle:. Gray bats use caves year-round for both raising young maternity sites and hibernation hibernacula.
Why You Should Care About the Indiana Gray Bat
They feed primarily on insects that have an aquatic larval stage, such as stoneflies, caddisflies, and mayflies. As such, maternity sites are often located within 3 miles of a large lake or river. Gray bats mate in the fall. After arousing from hibernation in early spring, females give birth to a single pup in late May or early June.
Maternity colonies can number from a few hundred to several thousand individuals. Its body is approximately 3. Conservation Status:. Since gray bats only use caves with certain characteristics, their habitat is naturally restricted.
Why You Should Care About the Indiana Gray Bat -
In fact, less than five percent of all caves in the entire range are suitable for gray bats. These bats also have a tendency to select caves along waterways, many of which are prone to submersion by flood events.
As with other cave-dependent bats, gray bats are sensitive to disturbance during both pup-rearing and hibernation periods. In winter, hibernates primarily in deep vertical caves with large rooms acting as cold-air traps oC [oF]. In summer, colonies of a few hundred to many thousands of individuals are formed, often in large caves containing streams. Maternity colonies occur in caves that, because of their configuration, trap warm air oC [oF] or provide restricted rooms or domed ceilings capable of trapping combined body heat from clustered individuals.
Because of their specific habitat requirements, less than 0. May travel more than 50 kilometers 30 miles per night to and from summer foraging sites.
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In summer, reproductive females form maternity colonies, and males and nonreproductive females form bachelor colonies. Depending upon when females arrive at maternity roosts, young are born between early May and late June. When born, single hairless young have eyes closed and a full complement of deciduous teeth; birth weight about 3 grams 0. Young begin to fly three to four weeks after birth, but rate of growth depends upon roost temperature; rate of growth is greatest in larger maternity colonies.
Life span may exceed years. Forages over open-water habitats. When roosts away from large bodies of open water, either goes cross-country, or to streams and follows them to such areas. Fish and Wildlife Service in Sign Up.