Corynorhinus rafinesquii - (Lesson, 1827)
Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat
Synonym(s): Plecotus rafinesquii Lesson, 1827
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Plecotus rafinesquii Lesson, 1827 (TSN 180027)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102452
Element Code: AMACC08020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Bats
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Chiroptera Vespertilionidae Corynorhinus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Baker, R. J., L. C. Bradley, R. D. Bradley, J. W. Dragoo, M. D. Engstrom, R. S. Hoffman, C. A. Jones, F. Reid, D. W. Rice, and C. Jones. 2003a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 2003. Museum of Texas Tech University Occasional Papers 229:1-23.
Concept Reference Code: B03BAK01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Corynorhinus rafinesquii
Taxonomic Comments: This bat was referred to as Corynorhinus macrotis in older literature, and Corynorhinus townsendii was known as C. rafinesquii. It was placed in the genus Plecotus by Handley (1959). Frost and Timm (1992) evaluated morphological and karyological characters from a phylogenetic perspective; they re-elevated the subgenus Corynorhinus to full genus status--the North America species Plecotus mexicanus, P. rafinesquii, and P. townsendii were moved from the genus Plecotus and once again placed in the genus Corynorhinus, leaving the Old World species Plecotus auritus, P. austriacus, and P. tenerrifae as the only members of the genus Plecotus. A morphological phylogenetic analysis by Tumlison and Douglas (1992) also concluded that mexicanus, rafinesquii, and townsendii should be placed in the genus Corynorhinus. Bogdanowicz et al. (1998) examined morphological and chromosomal variation and found that Corynorhinus is strongly supported as a distinct genus, with Plecotus limited to Palearctic species. The mammal lists by Baker et al. (2003) and Simmons (in Wilson and Reeder 2005), and essentially all subsequent major literature, also accepted Corynorhinus as the appropriate genus for New World big-eared bats.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 17Mar2015
Global Status Last Changed: 17Mar2015
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Widespread in the southeastern United States; large number of roost sites and locations, but many are represented by very small groups or single individuals. Historical loss of natural habitats probably has been offset to some degree by the bats' routine use of various human-made structures as roost sites. Vulnerable to incompatible forestry practices and other factors that reduce availability of roost sites in tree hollows; cave-rooting populations are sensitive to nondestructive intrusion.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3N4 (24Feb1998)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S2), Arkansas (S3), Florida (S2), Georgia (S3), Illinois (S1), Indiana (SH), Kentucky (S3), Louisiana (S4), Mississippi (S2), Missouri (SU), North Carolina (S3), Ohio (SH), Oklahoma (S1), South Carolina (S2), Tennessee (S3), Texas (S2), Virginia (S2), West Virginia (S1)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The historical range extended from southern Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois south to Florida (primarily the panhandle and northern and central portions of the peninsula) and the Gulf of Mexico; west to eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, Arkansas (known primarily from the Gulf Coastal Plain), eastern Oklahoma, and southern Missouri (Jones 1977, Handley 1991; Whitaker and Hamilton 1998; Lynch and Jones, in Wilson and Ruff 1999; Marks and Marks 2006; Schmidly 2004; Bennett et al. 2008; Bayless et al. 2011; Ammerman et al. 2012). The species apparently no longer occurs (or is quite rare) at the north edge of the range in Indiana and Ohio (Bayless et al. 2011, BCI & SBDN 2013). Elevational range in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park extends to at least 732 meters (D. Linzey and C. Brecht).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: The number of distinct occurrences has not been determined using standardized criteria, but this species clearly is represented by a large number of roost/observation sites and locations (as defined by IUCN). Based on historical and recent records, Bayless et al. (2011) recorded 1,138 known roost sites. Most roosts include only a small number of individuals; the number of known extant summer and winter roosting sites with large numbers of bats (> 100) is only 6 to 8 in any one year, and these sites are clustered in Kentucky and North Carolina.

As of 2005, the species had been recorded from 18 counties in Tennessee (Tennessee Bat Working Group). In western Tennessee, Carver and Ashley (2008) found big-eared bats in 25 roost trees in a relatively small area. MacGregor (1992) commented that although Kentucky has many records of the species, it has only 15 colonies with 30 or more bats. Bennett et al. (2008) found small colonies and solitary individuals of this species under 73 bridges during a two-year survey in South Carolina, suggesting the existence of a very large number of roosting sites. In a 5-hectare tupelo stand in Louisiana, a population of big-eared bats used at least 44 different roost trees over a period of a few months; groups of bats frequently changed their roost site (Gooding and Langford 2004). In eastern Texas during 1994-2000, this species was found in 13 roosts in five counties; additionally, 4 maternity roosts were found; over the past several decades the species has been found in at least 15 counties in eastern Texas (Mirowsky et al. 2004). In Florida, big-eared bats are known from a relatively small number of scattered locations.

Population Size: 10,000 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but undoubtedly exceeds 10,000 and may not exceed 100,000. In much of the range thorough searches have not been completed, and abundance is poorly known. These bats roost solitarily or in small groups in many sites (often in inconspicuous cavities), and they often switch roost sites, so counts are problematic.

The largest colonies of Rafinesque?s big-eared bats have been documented in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee, where roughly 4,100 hibernate in 10 significant hibernacula in the Appalachian Mountains and central plateaus (Bayless et al. 2011). Several larger maternity colonies include approximately 100 adults (Bayless et al. 2011), and a relatively small number may exceed 100 (M. Clement, pers. comm., 2015).

This bat never has been considered abundant (Barbour and Davis 1969), but it may be quite numerous in high quality habitat. For example, in Georgia, Clement and Castleberry (2013b) modeled the relationship between the number of big-eared bat colonies and landscape-scale habitat variables. Application of the regression model to a GIS indicated that there were 3,734 colonies containing 6,910 adult bats on the eight study sites encompassing 160 sq. km of forested wetlands. Predicted density ranged from 0.07 colonies/ha and 0.07 adult bats/ha in saturated wetlands to 0.47 colonies/ ha and 1.18 adult bats/ha in semi-permanently flooded wetlands.

Population is thought to be 1,000-2,000 in each of Kentucky and South Carolina. About 1,345 individuals hibernate in 4 caves in Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, and the park has documented 13 maternity colonies that include roughly 700 to 800 individuals (see Bayless et al. 2011). In South Carolina, extensive surveys of bridges in 2002 detected 196 individuals in groups and 49 solitary individuals (Bennett et al. 2008).

This is one of the most common bats in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hibernation roosts include up to several hundred individuals (e.g., 1,294 individuals in 2 abandoned mines) (see Bayless et al. 2011).

In a cave in Kentucky, counts of hibernating C. rafinesquii ranged from 14-49, with summer colony size reaching a maximum of 118 bats (Hurst and Lacki 1999). In southern Mississippi, the number of bats present under occupied bridges ranged from 1 to 25 per bridge (Trousdale and Beckett 2004). Wolters and Martin (2011) found a group of apparently 14 females with pups under a bridge in Mississippi. In May-August in South Carolina, occupied bridges had 1-53 individuals (median 12 and 8 in two consecutive years) (Bennett et al. 2008). In a 5-hectare area in Louisiana, big-eared bats roosted solitarily or in groups of up to 80 individuals (Gooding and Langford 2004).

In Florida, this bat is uncommon in the northern part of the state and rare in the south (Florida Bat Center, www.floridabats.org).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown
Viability/Integrity Comments: Occurrences have not been delineated across the full range, so the number of viable ones cannot be estimated. Also, this species tends to occur in relatively small groups, but the viability of occurrences with respect to population size is poorly known.

Overall Threat Impact: High - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Much historically occupied habitat was lost with the clearing of bottomland forests. Present threats include: forest destruction (significant in parts of coastal plain); hollow tree removal during certain forest management practices (widespread); decreasing availability of abandoned buildings through razing and vandalism (serious threat in coastal plain); insecticide applications aimed at forest pest (e.g., moth) species; vandalism of caves and mines, and closing or blasting mines shut (England et al. 1992, Clark 1992, BCI & SBDN 2013). There is considerable potential for loss and degradation of roosting and foraging habitats by commercial logging practices (e.g., thinning) in preferred habitat (Clark et al. 1997, Schmidly 2004, Carver and Ashley 2008, Ammerman et al. 2012).

BCI & SBDN (2013) summarized threats for this species (and for Myotis austroriparius) as follows: "Primary threats to these bats in bottomland hardwood forests include degradation and loss of foraging habitats, and declines in the availability and suitability of tree and human-made structures for roosting. Primary threats to these bats in upland forests include degradation and loss of foraging habitats, human-disturbance at roosting sites, wind power development [however, this species is not known to be among those commonly killed at wind energy facilities; e.g., see Arnett et al. 2008, Arnett and Baerwald 2013], and mortality from contact with Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus responsible for White-nose Syndrome (WNS) in bats. Both species in uplands choose roosting structures where contact with other bat species is likely, but not always where temperature conditions inside caves are potentially suitable for the establishment of the WNS fungus. These bats do occupy roosting structures with other bat species in bottomland hardwood forests, but typically do so beneath bridges where temperature and humidity microclimates do not support conditions suitable to the development of the WNS fungus."

Disturbance of accessible roosting sites probably has contributed to the decline in some areas. This species is very intolerant of disturbance (natural or human) and may abandon roost sites or hibernation sites if subjected to disturbance. Disturbance in winter may arouse bats and cause them to use up fat needed to survive the winter (Harvey 1992b). The tendency of these bats to roost in cave entrances makes them especially vulnerable to disturbance. One roost site was abandoned after the surrounding area was logged (Clark 1992).

This species may be vulnerable to pesticides and larvacides used against pest moth species in forests, and to overall loss of woody plant diversity in forests essential for larval development of moth prey (Dodd et al. 2008, 2012; Lacki and Dodd 2011). However, population-level effects of these factors--though presumably detrimental--are uncertain.

This species is not known to be affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS). Frequent arousals and activity during winter may make this species less vulnerable to infection by the fungus that causes WNS (Johnson et al. 2012).

Feral pigs are a potential threat. In wetlands, the pigs root up the ground and expose the roots of bat roost trees, which likely reduces their longevity (M. Clement, pers. comm., 2015).

Severe storms along the Coastal Plain may negatively affect the tree roosts frequently used by this species.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Populations are difficult to monitor (Bayless et al. 2011), and the trend over the past 10 years or three generations (around 15 years?) is uncertain. Based on habitat considerations (ongoing loss of mature bottomland hardwood forest, and probable net loss of human-made structures that serve as roost sites), area of occupancy and abundance probably have slowly declined.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 10-50%
Long-term Trend Comments: Over the long term, distribution and abundance probably have declined with extensive deforestation. Populations near the northern margins of the range in Indiana and Ohio probably have been extirpated. However, loss of natural habitats probably has been offset to some degree by the bats' routine use of various human-made structures as roost sites, so the degree of decline over the long term is uncertain. MacGregor (1992) noted that colonies of this bat in Kentucky seem to remain stable in size.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Basic surveys of distribution and abundance are needed in much of the range. Bridges, abandoned buildings (Finn 1996), and forested wetlands with large hollow trees should be targeted for inventory.

Protection Needs: Foraging habitat may be critical to species survival and should therefore be protected (protect mature floodplain and swamp forests and adjacent upland deciduous forest; maintain large hollow tree component of forested wetlands). Abandoned-building roost sites should be protected or, if need be, replaced with a potential alternate roost area on the site (Finn 1996).

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) The historical range extended from southern Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois south to Florida (primarily the panhandle and northern and central portions of the peninsula) and the Gulf of Mexico; west to eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, Arkansas (known primarily from the Gulf Coastal Plain), eastern Oklahoma, and southern Missouri (Jones 1977, Handley 1991; Whitaker and Hamilton 1998; Lynch and Jones, in Wilson and Ruff 1999; Marks and Marks 2006; Schmidly 2004; Bennett et al. 2008; Bayless et al. 2011; Ammerman et al. 2012). The species apparently no longer occurs (or is quite rare) at the north edge of the range in Indiana and Ohio (Bayless et al. 2011, BCI & SBDN 2013). Elevational range in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park extends to at least 732 meters (D. Linzey and C. Brecht).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Blount (01009)*, Clarke (01025)*, Colbert (01033)*, Jackson (01071)*, Lawrence (01079)*, Madison (01089)*, Marshall (01095)*
AR Arkansas (05001), Ashley (05003), Bradley (05011), Chicot (05017), Clark (05019), Clay (05021), Cleveland (05025)*, Columbia (05027), Craighead (05031), Crittenden (05035), Cross (05037)*, Desha (05041), Drew (05043)*, Faulkner (05045), Grant (05053), Greene (05055), Hempstead (05057), Jackson (05067), Jefferson (05069), Lafayette (05073), Lawrence (05075), Lee (05077), Lincoln (05079), Monroe (05095), Ouachita (05103), Phillips (05107), Pike (05109), Poinsett (05111), Pope (05115), Prairie (05117), Union (05139), White (05145), Woodruff (05147)
FL Collier (12021), Polk (12105), Putnam (12107), Washington (12133)
GA Appling (13001), Baker (13007), Bibb (13021), Bleckley (13023), Brantley (13025), Burke (13033), Calhoun (13037), Camden (13039), Charlton (13049)*, Clinch (13065)*, Dougherty (13095), Echols (13101)*, Effingham (13103), Emanuel (13107), Fannin (13111)*, Glynn (13127), Houston (13153), Jeff Davis (13161), Laurens (13175), Liberty (13179), Long (13183), Mcintosh (13191), Murray (13213), Pulaski (13235), Rabun (13241), Richmond (13245), Screven (13251), Toombs (13279), Towns (13281)*, Treutlen (13283), Union (13291)*, Wayne (13305)
IL Alexander (17003), Jackson (17077)*, Johnson (17087), Pope (17151), Pulaski (17153), Union (17181)
IN Harrison (18061)*, Lawrence (18093)*, Orange (18117)*, Tippecanoe (18157)*, Washington (18175)*
KY Adair (21001), Ballard (21007), Barren (21009), Bath (21011), Breathitt (21025), Breckinridge (21027), Carlisle (21039), Carter (21043), Clay (21051), Clinton (21053), Edmonson (21061), Estill (21065), Floyd (21071), Fulton (21075), Harlan (21095), Hart (21099), Hickman (21105), Jackson (21109), Knott (21119), Laurel (21125), Lee (21129), Leslie (21131), Letcher (21133), Madison (21151), Magoffin (21153), Martin (21159), McCreary (21147), Menifee (21165), Metcalfe (21169)*, Morgan (21175), Owsley (21189), Perry (21193), Powell (21197), Pulaski (21199), Rockcastle (21203), Rowan (21205), Taylor (21217)*, Warren (21227), Wayne (21231), Whitley (21235), Wolfe (21237)
MO Mississippi (29133), New Madrid (29143), Stoddard (29207)
MS Adams (28001), Attala (28007), Carroll (28015), Claiborne (28021), Clay (28025), Covington (28031), Forrest (28035), George (28039), Greene (28041), Hancock (28045)*, Harrison (28047), Itawamba (28057), Jefferson (28063), Jones (28067), Lafayette (28071), Leake (28079), Lowndes (28087), Marshall (28093), Montgomery (28097), Noxubee (28103), Oktibbeha (28105), Panola (28107), Perry (28111), Prentiss (28117), Rankin (28121), Scott (28123), Sharkey (28125), Simpson (28127)*, Stone (28131), Warren (28149), Wayne (28153), Wilkinson (28157), Winston (28159)
NC Alexander (37003)*, Beaufort (37013), Bertie (37015), Bladen (37017), Brunswick (37019), Buncombe (37021)*, Burke (37023), Camden (37029), Cherokee (37039)*, Chowan (37041), Columbus (37047)*, Craven (37049), Currituck (37053), Dare (37055), Duplin (37061), Edgecombe (37065), Franklin (37069), Gates (37073), Graham (37075), Halifax (37083), Haywood (37087), Hertford (37091), Hoke (37093), Jackson (37099), Johnston (37101), Macon (37113), Madison (37115)*, Martin (37117), Moore (37125), Nash (37127), New Hanover (37129), Northampton (37131), Pender (37141), Richmond (37153), Robeson (37155), Sampson (37163), Scotland (37165), Swain (37173), Transylvania (37175), Tyrrell (37177), Wake (37183), Washington (37187), Wayne (37191)*, Wilson (37195)
OH Adams (39001)*
OK McCurtain (40089)
SC Aiken (45003), Allendale (45005), Bamberg (45009), Barnwell (45011), Beaufort (45013), Berkeley (45015), Charleston (45019), Chesterfield (45025), Colleton (45029), Darlington (45031), Dillon (45033), Dorchester (45035), Georgetown (45043), Greenville (45045), Hampton (45049), Horry (45051), Jasper (45053), Kershaw (45055), Marion (45067), Marlboro (45069), Oconee (45073), Orangeburg (45075), Pickens (45077), Richland (45079), Sumter (45085), Williamsburg (45089)
TN Blount (47009), Campbell (47013)*, Cocke (47029), Cumberland (47035), Dyer (47045), Fentress (47049), Franklin (47051), Gibson (47053)*, Grundy (47061), Hancock (47067)*, Hawkins (47073)*, Haywood (47075), Madison (47113), Marion (47115), McNairy (47109), Monroe (47123), Obion (47131)*, Overton (47133), Pickett (47137), Putnam (47141), Sevier (47155)*, Van Buren (47175), Warren (47177), Weakley (47183), White (47185)*
TX Hardin (48199), Harris (48201), Jasper (48241), Jefferson (48245), Liberty (48291), Marion (48315), Newton (48351)*, San Jacinto (48407), Shelby (48419), Trinity (48455), Walker (48471)
VA Chesapeake (City) (51550), Greensville (51081), Isle of Wight (51093), Southampton (51175), Suffolk (City) (51800), Surry (51181), Sussex (51183), Virginia Beach (City) (51810)
WV Clay (54015), Fayette (54019), Jackson (54035), Mingo (54059), Nicholas (54067)*, Roane (54087), Wayne (54099)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Lynnhaven-Poquoson (02080108)+, Lower James (02080206)+
03 Lower Roanoke (03010107)+, Nottoway (03010201)+, Blackwater (03010202)+, Ghowan (03010203)+, Meheriin (03010204)+, Albemarle (03010205)+, Upper Tar (03020101)+, Fishing (03020102)+, Lower Tar (03020103)+, Pamlico (03020104)+, Upper Neuse (03020201)+, Middle Neuse (03020202)+*, Contentnea (03020203)+, Lower Neuse (03020204)+, New River (03020302)+, Upper Cape Fear (03030004)+, Lower Cape Fear (03030005)+, Black (03030006)+, Northeast Cape Fear (03030007)+, Lower Pee Dee (03040201)+, Lumber (03040203)+, Little Pee Dee (03040204)+, Black (03040205)+, Waccamaw (03040206)+, Carolina Coastal-Sampit (03040207)+, Upper Catawba (03050101)+*, South Fork Catawba (03050102)+, Wateree (03050104)+, Tyger (03050107)+, Saluda (03050109)+, Congaree (03050110)+, Lake Marion (03050111)+, Santee (03050112)+, Cooper (03050201)+, South Carolina Coastal (03050202)+*, South Fork Edisto (03050204)+, Edisto (03050205)+, Four Hole Swamp (03050206)+, Salkehatchie (03050207)+, Broad-St. Helena (03050208)+, Bulls Bay (03050209)+, Seneca (03060101)+, Tugaloo (03060102)+, Middle Savannah (03060106)+, Brier (03060108)+, Lower Savannah (03060109)+, Canoochee (03060203)+, Ogeechee Coastal (03060204)+, Lower Oconee (03070102)+, Upper Ocmulgee (03070103)+, Lower Ocmulgee (03070104)+, Altamaha (03070106)+, Ohoopee (03070107)+, Satilla (03070201)+, Little Satilla (03070202)+, Cumberland-St. Simons (03070203)+, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Kissimmee (03090101)+, Everglades (03090202)+, Upper Suwannee (03110201)+*, Ichawaynochaway (03130009)+, Lower Choctawhatchee (03140203)+, Conasauga (03150101)+, Upper Tombigbee (03160101)+, Tibbee (03160104)+, Noxubee (03160108)+, Mulberry (03160109)+*, Lower Tambigbee (03160203)+*, Upper Chickasawhay (03170002)+, Lower Chickasawhay (03170003)+, Upper Leaf (03170004)+, Lower Leaf (03170005)+, Pascagoula (03170006)+, Black (03170007)+, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+, Upper Pearl (03180001)+, Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+, Middle Pearl-Silver (03180003)+*
05 Upper Ohio-Shade (05030202)+, Lower New (05050004)+, Gauley (05050005)+*, Elk (05050007)+, Tug (05070201)+, Lower Levisa (05070203)+, Twelvepole (05090102)+, Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+*, Licking (05100101)+, North Fork Kentucky (05100201)+, Middle Fork Kentucky (05100202)+, South Fork Kentucky (05100203)+, Upper Kentucky (05100204)+, Lower Kentucky (05100205)+, Upper Green (05110001)+, Barren (05110002)+, Rough (05110004)+, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+*, Muscatatuck (05120207)+*, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+*, Upper Cumberland (05130101)+, Rockcastle (05130102)+, Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland (05130103)+, South Fork Cumberland (05130104)+, Obey (05130105)+, Upper Cumberland-Cordell Hull (05130106)+, Collins (05130107)+, Caney (05130108)+, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+*, Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203)+, Lower Ohio (05140206)+
06 Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Pigeon (06010106)+, Lower French Broad (06010107)+*, Watts Bar Lake (06010201)+, Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+*, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)+, Upper Clinch (06010205)+*, Powell (06010206)+*, Hiwassee (06020002)+*, Ocoee (06020003)+*, Sequatchie (06020004)+, Guntersville Lake (06030001)+, Wheeler Lake (06030002)+, Upper Elk (06030003)+, Pickwick Lake (06030005)+*
07 Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105)+, Big Muddy (07140106)+*, Cache (07140108)+
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100)+, Bayou De Chien-Mayfield (08010201)+, Obion (08010202)+, South Fork Obion (08010203)+, North Fork Forked Deer (08010204)+*, South Fork Forked Deer (08010205)+, Upper Hatchie (08010207)+, Lower Hatchie (08010208)+, Lower Mississippi-Helena (08020100)+, New Madrid-St. Johns (08020201)+, Lower St. Francis (08020203)+, L'anguille (08020205)+*, Lower White-Bayou Des Arc (08020301)+, Cache (08020302)+, Big (08020304)+, Lower Arkansas (08020401)+, Bayou Meto (08020402)+, Lower Mississippi-Greenville (08030100)+, Little Tallahatchie (08030201)+, Big Sunflower (08030207)+, Upper Ouachita (08040102)+, Little Missouri (08040103)+, Lower Ouachita-Smackover (08040201)+, Lower Ouachita-Bayou De Loutre (08040202)+, Upper Saline (08040203)+, Lower Saline (08040204)+, Bayou Bartholomew (08040205)+, Bayou D'arbonne (08040206)+, Boeuf (08050001)+, Bayou Macon (08050002)+, Lower Mississippi-Natchez (08060100)+, Upper Big Black (08060201)+, Lower Big Black (08060202)+, Bayou Pierre (08060203)+, Coles Creek (08060204)+, Homochitto (08060205)+, Buffalo (08060206)+, Bayou Sara-Thompson (08070201)+*
11 Upper Black (11010007)+, Lower Black (11010009)+, Strawberry (11010012)+*, Upper White-Village (11010013)+, Dardanelle Reservoir (11110202)+, Lake Conway-Point Remove (11110203)+, Cadron (11110205)+, Upper Little (11140107)+, Mountain Fork (11140108)+*, Lower Little (11140109)+, Mckinney-Posten Bayous (11140201)+, Loggy Bayou (11140203)+, Caddo Lake (11140306)+
12 Toledo Bend Reservoir (12010004)+, Middle Neches (12020002)+, Lower Neches (12020003)+, Lower Angelina (12020005)+, Village (12020006)+, Pine Island Bayou (12020007)+, Lower Trinity-Kickapoo (12030202)+, Lower Trinity (12030203)+, East Fork San Jacinto (12040103)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A bat with large ears.
General Description: Very large ears (27-37 mm); ventral hairs black or blackish at the base, white or whitish at the tips; dorsum pale brown; total length 80-110 mm; hind foot length 8-13 mm; length of forearm 38.8-43.5 mm; greatest length of skull 13.2-15.1 mm; supraorbital region not ridged; maxillary toothrow length 4.7-5.4 mm; first upper incisor has two cusps; 36 teeth; male mass 7.9-9.5 g, female mass 7.9-13.6 g (see Jones 1977).

Identified by the presence of large ears or pinnae and two large lumps, or enlarged pararhinal glands, on the face between the nose and eyes. Typical coloration is gray to reddish brown with distinct ventral fur that is black at the base with sharply contrasting white or pale tips.

Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from C. townsendii and C. mexicanus by having the ventral hairs black with white or whitish tips (rather than gray or brownish with brownish or buff tips); also, except in subspecies ingens, the first upper incisor in townsendii usually does not have a secondary cusp (Jones 1977).
Reproduction Comments: Mating occurs in autumn and winter. Gestation lasts possibly 2.5-3 months. Litter of one is born in late May-early June in the north, by early May in Texas (Mirowsky et al. 2004), and apparently mostly in May in Florida (e.g., see Finn 1996). Young can fly at about 3 weeks, by mid-July in eastern Texas (Mirowsky et al. 2004). Longevity is at least 8-10 years. Maternity colonies range in size from several to about 100 individuals; larger in the north than in the far south.
Ecology Comments: Roosts singly, in small clusters, or in larger groups of up to 100 or more (Handley 1991). In most colonies, females outnumber males. Males are mainly solitary during the nursing season. When disturbed, awakens quickly and takes flight almost immediately (Layne 1978).
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: This species is basically nonmigratory and moves only short distances between summer and winter roosting sites. Some roosts are used all year.

In Kentucky, based on radio-tagged individuals that used a cave as a hibernaculum as well as a maternity colony, size of foraging areas ranged from 61.6-225.3 ha, and distance of foraging areas from the roost varied from 0.12-1.22 km; no bat was detected farther than 2.5 km from the roost of capture (Hurst and Lacki 1999).

Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Suburban/orchard, Urban/edificarian, Woodland - Hardwood
Subterranean Habitat(s): Subterrestrial
Special Habitat Factors: Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: This is a bat of forested regions. Hibernation in the north and in mountainous regions most often occurs in caves or similar sites; small caves are selected, and the bats stay near the entrance (often within 30 meters) and are thought to move about in winter (Handley 1959, Barbour and Davis 1969). In Kentucky, shallow caves or rock shelters in sandstone formations of the Cumberland Plateau often are used (MacGregor, pers. comm. 1992). Winter habitat in the south is poorly known, but usually this species is not found in caves during winter. In the Coastal Plain they are suspected to use hollow trees for cold weather and possibly winter roosts (Clark, pers. comm. 1992). In the southern portions of the range these bats often roost in buildings year round.

Summer roosts often are in hollow trees (e.g., Gooding and Langford 2004, Trousdale and Beckett 2005) (occasionally under loose bark) or in abandoned buildings, under bridges, or in culverts, in or near wooded areas. In a bottomland hardwood forest in Kentucky, radio-tagged big-eared bats roosted almost exclusively in trees in forested wetlands (Johnson and Lacki 2013). In western Texas, several maternity colonies were in "manufactured structures" (Mirowsky et al. 2004). Nursery colonies are rare in caves but are known to occur in Kentucky and Tennessee (Barbour and Davis 1969). A sandstone cave in Kentucky served as both a maternity site and hibernaculum, though the bats used different portions of the cave in winter and summer (Hurst and Lacki 1999). A large nursery colony (87 adults in June of 1985) roosts in abandoned copper mines in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Currie, pers. comm. 1992).

In Louisiana, Gooding and Langford (2004) found that roost trees were hollow Nyssa aquatica with triangular-shaped basal openings, and all were located within a 5-hectare tupelo stand. Similarly, in eastern Tennessee, roosts were primarily in large hollow Nyssa aquatica (Carver and Ashley 2008).In Mississippi, Trousdale and Beckett (2005) found that tree roosts were in hollow Nyssa spp. and Magnolia grandiflora. Roost trees in Georgia were mainly large hollow Nyssa aquatica (and a few other species) with smooth interior walls (Clement and Castleberry 2013a). Most of the trees were still alive, relatively large, and were adjacent to streams or other bodies of water. Tree roosts were apparently rare within the study area, and C. rafinesquii showed roost fidelity to particular areas of forest. Six tree roosts were used by multiple individuals and several trees were reused within tracking sessions and among years. Trees used for roosting usually are in thick stands and not exposed to direct sunlight (Clark et al. 1997, Carver and Ashley 2008).

In Louisiana, Lance et al. (2001) demonstrated that bridges, especially girder bridges, are important day-roost sites. Tagged bats in this study roosted under bridges 50% of the time and in black gum trees (Nyssa aquatica) 50% of the time. In Mississippi, small groups of females (mean of 5.6 adult females) used concrete bridges as maternity roosts; the bridges were much less used in fall and winter (Trousdale and Beckett 2004). Wolters and Martin (2011) observed a maternity colony that formed during each of several years under a concrete bridge in west-central Mississippi. Girder bridges also are commonly used as summer day roosts in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina (Bennett et al. 2008). It has been suggested that the species began using man-made structures in the coastal plain region only after large old hollow trees became scarce (Currie 1992, Clark 1992).

In Arkansas these bats are found in cisterns and wells rather than caves (Harvey 1992b). In the mountains of South Carolina they roost in rock houses, abandoned gold mines, and hollow trees (Strayer 1992b). In the coastal plain of North Carolina, they move into old buildings in the summer. They are known to use hollow trees as temporary night roosts between feeding bouts in the summer (Clark pers. comm. 1992). In central Florida, a maternity roost was in an abandoned trailer that had been placed on a site in the early 1980s; it had been occupied for several years by the mid-1990s (Finn 1996).

Dilapidated buildings are inhabited more commonly than are intact occupied structures, and Clark (1987) and Strayer (1992) reported that these bats roost in the darkest parts of such buildings. Others have reported that these bats choose more open and lighted daytime roosts than other kinds of bats (Handley 1959, Barbour and Davis 1969, Harvey 1992). Clark (1987) agreed that in caves and mines this species prefers areas receiving some natural light.

The foraging habitat is primarily mature forest in both upland and lowland areas. In North Carolina and Virginia, foraging habitat for subspecies macrotis included mature hardwood floodplain forest; sites along permanent water bodies, especially rivers, were preferred (Clark 1987). In the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina, where large contiguous tracts of mature bottomland hardwoods were common, most foraging activity of males nevertheless occurred in young pine stands; only 9% of foraging areas were in bottomland hardwoods (Menzel et al. 2001). In southeastern Kentucky, radio-tagged individuals foraged along ridgelines supporting upland oak-hickory forest (Hurst and Lacki 1999). In Arkansas, captures tended to be in dry corridor sites rather than corridors over water (Medlin and Risch 2008). In Kentucky, deciduous forests on drier soils near forested wetlands were important foraging habitats for pregnant females (Johnson and Lacki 2013).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Probably depends upon flying insects, particularly moths. May hover and pluck insects from foliage (Whitaker 1980).
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Big-eared bats emerge from roosts usually well after dark, return to roosting sites prior to dawn (do not feed in twilight).

All sex and reproductive classes of Rafinesques big-eared bat used torpor to some extent during summer in bottomland hardwood forests in Kentucky, but these classes exhibited differing number of torpor bouts, amount of time spent torpid, depth of torpor, and average and minimum body temperature; pregnant females employed infrequent, short, shallow torpor bouts (Johnson and Lacki 2013).

These bats hibernate to some degree in the more northerly part of the range but often are active in winter in the south (e.g., Louisiana, eastern Texas; Schmidly 2004). Even in the north (e.g., Kentucky) these bats are shallow hibernators and relatively active in winter (Johnson et al. 2012).

Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 11 centimeters
Weight: 12 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: Primary management needs include elimination of disturbance of roosts and protection of roosting and foraging habitat through compatible forestry practices.
Biological Research Needs: More information is needed on abundance, population trends, metapopulation dynamics, general biology, foraging habitat, and foraging behavior.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Small and Medium Bats

Use Class: Bachelor colony
Subtype(s): Diurnal Roost, Foraging Area, Nocturnal Roost
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: An area occupied either historically or at present by a persisting or recurring population of males during summer (approximately May through August). Includes mist net captures away from roost sites obtained during the summer months even if the actual roost site(s) are not known. Identification evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and detailed documentation of one or more individuals. In certain regions, recorded echolocation sequences of individuals may be considered reliable observations for certain species that can be confidently identified by their echolocation calls alone, although caution must be used in determining Location Use Class for such observations during the breeding season.
Mapping Guidance: EO includes both the colony site and the associated foraging areas. If separate, the colony site and foraging areas are bounded by separate polygons; that is, areas over which the bats simply commute to and from foraging areas and the colony are not included in the EO.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: The assigned separation distance is intended to generate occurrences that consist of spatially proximate roost sites and capture locations. However, include in the same occurrence (1) any roost sites between which significant of individuals are known to move, regardless of how far apart they are, and (2) known significant foraging areas of occurrences that are based on roost sites.

In two studies, male MYOTIS SODALIS foraged a maximum of 2.0 and 4.2 kilometers from their summer roosts (summarized in USFWS 1999).

Date: 29Mar2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Breeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: An area occupied either historically or at present by a persisting or recurring breeding population during spring/summer (approximately May through August). Includes mist net captures away from colony sites obtained even if the associated roost site is not known. Identification evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and detailed documentation of one or more individuals. In certain regions, echolocation sequences of individuals may be considered reliable observations for certain species that can be confidently identified by their echolocation calls alone, although caution must be used in determining Location Use Class for such observations during the breeding season.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: It is impractical to attempt to delineate occurrences on the basis of discrete populations. Instead, the assigned separation distance is intended to generate occurrences that consist of spatially proximate roost sites and capture locations.
Date: 02Jul2014
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Hibernaculum
Subtype(s): Pre-hibernation roost site, Hibernaculum
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A site occupied either historically or at present by a recurring population of hibernating individuals. Identification evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and detailed documentation of one or more individuals. EO also includes immediately surrounding areas used by bats immediately before hibernation, where these areas are known.
Mapping Guidance: Cave/mine passages should be projected to the surface for the purpose of mapping EO boundary.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: These bats sometimes move long distances between different hibernacula. For example, individuals of M. LUCIFUGUS and M. SEPTENTRIONALIS have been recorded flying up to 219 and 89 kilometers respectively between hibernacula during the winter months (Linzey 1998, Griffin 1940). However,
such movements are not a good basis for distinguishing occurrences (occurrences would become too expansive). The assigned separation distance is intended to generate occurrences that consist of spatially proximate hibernacula.

Separation distances suggested take into account the fact that, during the fall, some bats (e.g. M. SODALIS) swarm and mate at their hibernaculum, and males roost in trees nearby during the day and fly to the cave during the night. In two studies, M. SODALIS males roosted within a maximum of 5.6 kilometers of the hibernaculum (Kiser and Elliott 1996; Craig Stihler, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, pers. observ., October 1996, cited in USFWS 1999).

Although they do not generally fly from one hibernaculum to another, hibernating bats are known to wake and move around to some extent within their hibernating site. As long as the areas are connected (even though they may not be passable by humans) the bats could be expected to move from one part of the system to another (e.g. MYOTIS SODALIS, Clawson et al. 1980).

Date: 29Mar2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Maternity colony
Subtype(s): Colony Site, Foraging Area, Nocturnal Roost
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: An area occupied either historically or at present by a persisting or recurring population of breeding females and their young during summer (approximately May through August). Includes mist net captures away from colony sites obtained during the summer months even if the associated roost site is not known. Identification evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and detailed documentation of one or more individuals. In certain regions, echolocation sequences of individuals may be considered reliable observations for certain species that can be confidently identified by their echolocation calls alone, although caution must be used in determining Location Use Class for such observations during the breeding season.
Mapping Guidance: The EO includes both the colony site and the associated foraging areas. If separate, the colony site and foraging areas are bounded by separate polygons; that is, areas over which the bats simply commute to and from foraging areas and the colony are not included in the EO.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: It is impractical to attempt to delineate occurrences on the basis of discrete populations. Instead, the assigned separation distance is intended to generate occurrences that consist of spatially proximate roost sites and capture locations.

Nursing female Myotis sodalis moved an average of 1.04 kilometers from roost to center of foraging area, giving a mean foraging diameter of 2.08 kilometers; however, post-lactating females moved more than twice as far, travelling an average of 2.6 kilometers (Garner and Gardner 1992). In Indiana, 11 foraging adult females that were tracked for 2-7 days moved up to 8.4 km from their roost; home range during this brief period averaged 3.35 square kilometers (Sparks et al. 2005). Myotis grisescens females move up to 6.6 kilometers (Tuttle 1976). Female M. septentrionalis had an average foraging home range of 61.1 hectares (Menzel et al. 1999), equivalent to a circle with a diameter of 880 meters.

Date: 08Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Diurnal Roost, Foraging Area, Nocturnal Roost
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A site occupied either historically or at present by a recurring population of migrating or otherwise nonhibernating individuals during the nonbreeding season. Identification evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and detailed documentation of one or more individuals. In certain regions, recorded echolocation sequences of individuals may be considered reliable observations for certain species that can be confidently identified by their echolocation calls alone.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: The assigned separation distance is intended to generate occurrences that consist of spatially proximate roost sites and capture locations. However, include in the same occurrence (1) any roost sites between which individuals are known to move, regardless of how far apart they are, and (2) known significant foraging areas of occurrences that are based on roost sites.

In California, Fellers and Pierson (2002) studied a group of Corynorhinus townsendii inhabiting a maternity colony site after the nursery season had passed and found that the mean center of female foraging activity was 3.2 kilometers from the diurnal roost, whereas the mean center of male foraging activity was only 1.3 kilometers from the roost. No bats traveled more than 10.5 kilometers from the roost, and individuals showed considerable loyalty to the primary roost. Otherwise, little movement data are available.

Date: 19Apr2001
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Roost
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: An area occupied either historically or at present by a persisting or recurring population during summer  (approximately May through August). Includes counts of individuals from roost sites obtained during the summer months during pup rearing and summer residence periods. Identification evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and detailed documentation of one or more individuals during roost counts.
Mapping Guidance: EO includes both the colony site and an approximation of the associated foraging areas. If separate, the colony site and foraging areas are bounded by separate polygons; that is, areas over which the bats simply commute to and from foraging areas and the colony are not included in the EO.
Separation Barriers: None
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: It is impractical to attempt to delineate occurrences on the basis of discrete populations. Instead, the assigned separation distance is intended to generate occurrences that consist of spatially proximate roost sites.
Date: 01Dec2017
Author: Staffen, R.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 25Mar2015
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Apr2015
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G., J. Soule, C. Hobson, and S. Cannings

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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