Myotis leibii - (Audubon and Bachman, 1842)
Eastern Small-footed Myotis
Other English Common Names: Eastern Small-footed Bat
Synonym(s): Myotis subulatus leibii (Audubon and Bachman, 1842) ;Myotis subulatus
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Myotis leibii (Audubon and Bachman, 1842) (TSN 179999)
French Common Names: chauve-souris pygmée de l'Est, vespertilion pygmée de l'Est
Spanish Common Names: Un Murciélago
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106402
Element Code: AMACC01130
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Bats
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Chiroptera Vespertilionidae Myotis
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Myotis leibii
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly, M. ciliolabrum was included as a subspecies of M. leibii (or M. subulatus). Based chiefly on cranial measurements, Van Zyll de Jong (1984) recognized western populations of what had been known as M. subulatus as a species (M. ciliolabrum) distinct from eastern populations, for which the appropriate name is M. leibii. Electrophoretic data support the conclusion that the two taxa are specifically distinct (Herd 1987). Wilson and Ruff (1999) and Baker et al. (2003) regarded M. ciliolabrum and M. leibii as separate species. Koopman (in Wilson and Reeder 1993) did not recognize M. ciliolabrum as a species distinct from M. leibii, but Simmons (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) did. See also Miller and Allen (1928), Glass and Baker (1968), and Hall (1981) for nomenclatural information. Myotis leibii is regarded as monotypic (Best and Jennings 1997).

In a phylogenetic study based on mtDNA data, M. leibii was included within clades containing both M. californicus and M. ciliolabrum (Rodriguez and Ammerman 2004). Further data from M. leibii are necessary to validate its phylogenetic relationship to M. ciliolabrum and M. californicus (Rodriguez and Ammerman 2004). Comparisons among outgroups (M. yumanensis, M. lucifugus, and M. evotis) found sufficient support for specific status of M. leibii, but sequence divergence between M. evotis and the leibii group was small (2.9%) and within the intraspecific range. Further sampling of M. evotis is necessary to establish the level of divergence between M. evotis, as well as other long-eared Myotis, and the leibii group (Rodriguez and Ammerman 2004).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 11Mar2015
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Widespread in southeastern Canada and eastern United States; numerous localities but very spotty distribution; rarely found in large numbers; historically the total numbers counted have been very low in comparison to the total number of caves and mines surveyed; recent data indicate relatively stable populations and no apparent significant impact of white-nose syndrome.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3N4 (09Jun2014)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N2N3 (31Dec2011)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Arkansas (S1), Connecticut (SHN), Georgia (S2?), Kentucky (S2), Maine (S1S2), Maryland (S1), Massachusetts (S1), Missouri (SU), New Hampshire (S1), New Jersey (S3), New York (S2), North Carolina (S2), Ohio (SH), Oklahoma (S1), Pennsylvania (S1B,S1N), South Carolina (S1), Tennessee (S2S3), Vermont (S1), Virginia (S2), West Virginia (S1)
Canada Ontario (S2S3), Quebec (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 range extends from New England, southeastern Ontario, and southwestern Quebec south and west to southeastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, and northwestern South Carolina (Menzel et al. 2003). A map is included in Best and Jennings (1997). Within this range, the distribution is very spotty, and the bulk of the occurrences and largest populations are in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and western Virginia (Amelon and Burhans 2006). The majority of known hibernacula occur in Pennsylvania (n=55), New York (n=53), West Virginia (n=50), Virginia (n=33), Kentucky (n=26), and North Carolina (n=25) (USFWS 2013). This species is apparently extirpated in Connecticut and Ohio (where known from only one specimen). Elevational range extends to at least 700-800 meters in several states, at least 1,125 meters in Kentucky (see Best and Jennings 1997), and to at least 1,447 meters in North Carolina (O'Keefe and LaVoie 2011).

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: The number of distinct occurrences has not been determined using standardized criteria, but the species is represented by a large number of collection/observation sites and locations (as defined by IUCN). The species has been found in 289 hibernacula (USFWS 2013; time frame not reported). In recent years (but prior to the prevalence of white-nose syndrome), it was counted at approximately 125 hibernacula (Amelon and Burhans 2006). Recent surveys have greatly increased the number of localities above those known historically; the number of hibernacula may be significantly larger than currently known. Intensive cave and mine surveys have been undertaken in most states where the species occurs, but some sites probably remain unsearched in most states, and some likely roost sites are inaccessible to surveyors. Also, this relatively secretive bat may go undetected in sites where it is present.

Population Size: 10,000 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Population size is uncertain but clearly exceeds 2,500 and probably exceeds 10,000.

Most hibernacula surveys that have detected this species have recorded only one or a few individuals, but survey results can be quite variable. For example, from 1939 to 1944, over 100 caves were surveyed in Pennsylvania (and a portion of West Virginia), and out of these, M. leibii was observed at only 7 sites, totaling 363 individuals. In 1978 and 1979, the same seven caves were surveyed again, and no M. leibii were observed (Felbaum et al. 1995). However, surveys conducted from 1980 to 1988 found M. leibii inhabiting 21 hibernacula in an 8-county area in Pennsylvania (Dunn and Hall 1989), and by 2011, surveys had confirmed presence at 55 sites in a 14- county area (Pennsylvania Game Commission, unpublished data). Source: USFWS (2013).

The largest number of hibernating individuals ever reported for the species was 2,383, which were found in a mine in Essex County, New York (Herzog, pers. comm., 2013, cited by USFWS 2013).

Some of the occurrences probably have not been surveyed completely, and some individuals are undoubtedly missed within some sites because they are hibernating in portions of mines or caves that cannot be reached or easily observed. In Maryland, for example, far fewer M. leibii were observed during internal hibernacula surveys than were caught in traps during spring emergence (Maryland Department of Natural Resources 2011, unpublished data, cited by USFWS 2013). Reportedly, these bats may not be readily captured in mist nests and so the species numbers may be underrepresented in summer surveys using them (see USFWS 2013). However, others have found that when present the bats are easily captured in mist nets (E. Britzke, pers. comm., 2015).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown
Viability/Integrity Comments: Viability of most occurrences is uncertain.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium - low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The most serious threat to bats in eastern North America is white-nose syndrome (WNS), an often (but not always) lethal condition caused by a fungal pathogen that attacks hibernating bats. WNS was first noticed in 2006 in New York. Since its initial discovery, WNS has spread rapidly and now has been documented throughout the range of Myotis leibii (http://www.fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome/maps/WNSMap_060111_300dpi_DS.jpg). WNS affects Myotis leibii and several other bat species and has resulted in several million bat deaths in eastern North America. As of early 2015, WNS was still spreading but was confined primarily to areas east of the Mississippi River (plus several locations in Arkansas and Missouri, with suspected instances in Iowa and Minnesota). USFWS (2013) reviewed available information on population trends and WNS effects on M. leibii and concluded that WNS does not appear to have caused a significant population decline in hibernating M. leibii.

USFWS (2013) determined that although several activities, such as construction of physical barriers at cave accesses, mining, flooding, vandalism, development, and timber harvest may modify or destroy M. leibii habitat, these activities do not have significant, population-level effects on the species. Climate change, contaminants, wind energy development, and prescribed burning are not believed to be causing population declines in M. leibii (USFWS 2013). Some of these potential or localized threats are discussed further in the following paragraphs.

Closures of mines used for hibernation are a potential threat, but there is no evidence that mine closures are currently affecting Myotis leibii populations (USFWS 2011). Some mines may be threatened by collapse. Ceiling collapse may kill bats outright or, more significantly, alter cave microhabitat enough to make it unsuitable. A few cave occurrences are threatened or have been reduced in quality due to commercialization for tourism.

Threats to summer sites are unknown but likely to be moderate due to alteration of riparian habitats. Conversion of forested habitats to agricultural and residential uses has decreased the amount of preferred habitat in some areas, but the bats do make use of bridges and various other non-natural roost sites. Reliance on loose shale, talus, or karst formations often found in oil-, gas-, and mineral-rich lands makes M. leibii vulnerable to habitat loss associated with natural resource exploitation (Center for Biological Diversity 2010, USFWS 2011).

Development of wind power may pose a threat in some areas. Myotis leibii typically roosts in talus areas that occur on ridgetops. In the Appalachian Mountains, such roosting areas coincide with past, present, and anticipated future wind power development. Thus this bat may be exposed to both habitat loss due to project construction and direct mortality from turbine operation (Center for Biological Diversity 2010, USFWS 2011). However, significant mortality from turbines has not yet been documented (Arnett and Baerwald 2013).

Improper gating of caves to protect bats may result in site abandonment. For example, construction associated with commercializing the Fourth Chute Cave in Ontario, Canada, eliminated the circulation of cold air in one of the unvisited passages where a relatively large number of M. leibii hibernated; the bats were completely displaced as a result of the warmer microclimate produced (Mohr 1972). In other locations (e.g., Aitkin Cave, Pennsylvania), correctly installed gates led to increases in M. leibii populations (Butchkoski, pers. comm., 2012, cited by USFWS 2013).

Human disturbance is a potential threat at approximately half of the known hibernacula in Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Vermont, and West Virginia, but there is no evidence that disturbance has led to population declines (USFWS 2013). With its small numbers and spotty distribution, isolated colonies of M. leibii are particularly vulnerable to extirpation by chance events, especially when concentrated during winter months. On the other hand, in contrast to certain other bats that assemble in vast numbers in relatively few sites, the population of M. leibii as a whole is not vulnerable to localized events.

THREATS TO BATS IN GENERAL: Other than white-nose syndrome, perhaps the most serious threat to cave-dwelling bats is human disturbance during hibernation. Very low levels of noise, light, and heat from lanterns are sufficient to awaken hibernating bats, which then expend energy moving about and deplete critical reserves of body fat. When disturbance is repeated, bats (especially juveniles) are likely to perish. "By the end of the winter energy reserves may be insufficient to meet the demands of the first feeding forays, when emerging insects may be scattered and scarce, or the bats may be too weak to make long flights to their summer territories" (Mohr 1976). Such disturbance is equally lethal, whether caused by vandals, well-meaning spelunkers, or bat researchers.

Intentional killing of bats in caves by clubbing, stoning, burning, bombing, etc,. has been a significant cause of mortality. Documented examples are numerous (Greenhall 1973, Harvey 1976, Tuttle 1979, and others). Bats are sometimes exterminated from commercial caves, or if not, leave or move to suboptimal habitats due to increased disturbance.

Poisoning by pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmental contaminants has been and may remain a significant threat (Clark 1988). Destruction of roost and foraging habitat by reservoir inundation, strip mining (especially limestone), deforestation, drainage of wetlands, development, etc., and pollution or siltation of waterways with consequent decline in insect production are additional potential adverse impacts (Tuttle 1979). Hundreds of thousands of bats have been destroyed by natural flooding of caves (Hall 1962, Brady 1979).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Until recently, most occurrences were not revisited regularly, making the assessment of population trend difficult. Also, the relatively sparse populations of this bat make it difficult to determine trends. Through the 1990s, many biologists believed that this species was basically stable but vulnerable, especially in its cave hibernacula.

While other species of hibernating bats have experienced mass mortality due to WNS, there is no indication of a large population-level decline in M. leibii, based on winter survey data. A review of pre-WNS and post-WNS hibernacula count data over multiple years indicated that post-WNS counts were within the normal observed range at the majority of sites analyzed. Several life-history traits may reduce the susceptibility of this bat to WNS; these include their comparatively late arrival and early departure from hibernacula, departure from hibernacula during mild winter periods, solitary roosting habits, and selection of drier microhabitats (e.g., cave and mine entrances). Source: USFWS (2013).

However, given multiple factors that may be negatively affecting these bats to at least some degree, combined with the difficulty in making accurate counts of this species, the possibility of a slow decline in the area of occupancy, number of locations, and/or population size cannot be ruled out.

Long-term Trend: Unknown
Long-term Trend Comments: This bat always has been considered to be relatively rare (Barbour and Davis 1969). Through the 1990s, numbers were reduced in a few sites where historical counts were available, and a few historical sites were apparently no longer occupied (e.g., see Hall 1979, but compare Dunn and Hall 1989). Whether these observations reflected declines or changes in distribution is unknown. In Vermont, Myotis leibii was consistently found in very small numbers and often not detected at all during periodic surveys of various hibernacula dating back to 1934 (Trombulak et al. 2001). Numbers detected in Pennsylvania declined between the 1930s (7 sites, 363 individuals) and late 1970s (none detected) (Felbaum et al. 1995).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Summer surveys throughout the species known range should be a high priority for inventory work. Winter hibernacula surveys should continue with emphasis on searching sites that have not been surveyed, improving counts in sites which have not been completely or thoroughly surveyed, and monitoring some portion of the known sites on a regular basis (perhaps every other year as recommended for Myotis sodalis sites) to establish baseline population trend data.

Protection Needs: All high-quality occurrences should be fully protected along with as many other viable occurrences as possible. Protection should include the ground surface above and adjacent to caves and mines and may need to include mineral rights for some mines. Protection, whether by ownership, easement, or management agreement, must include some means of limiting winter disturbance.

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) The range extends from New England, southeastern Ontario, and southwestern Quebec south and west to southeastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, and northwestern South Carolina (Menzel et al. 2003). A map is included in Best and Jennings (1997). Within this range, the distribution is very spotty, and the bulk of the occurrences and largest populations are in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and western Virginia (Amelon and Burhans 2006). The majority of known hibernacula occur in Pennsylvania (n=55), New York (n=53), West Virginia (n=50), Virginia (n=33), Kentucky (n=26), and North Carolina (n=25) (USFWS 2013). This species is apparently extirpated in Connecticut and Ohio (where known from only one specimen). Elevational range extends to at least 700-800 meters in several states, at least 1,125 meters in Kentucky (see Best and Jennings 1997), and to at least 1,447 meters in North Carolina (O'Keefe and LaVoie 2011).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AR, CT, GA, KY, MA, MD, ME, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, VA, VT, WV
Canada ON, QC

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)
AR Newton (05101), Searcy (05129)*
GA Chattooga (13055), Dade (13083), Habersham (13137), Lumpkin (13187), Murray (13213), Rabun (13241), Towns (13281), Union (13291), Walker (13295), White (13311)
KY Bath (21011), Bell (21013), Breathitt (21025), Breckinridge (21027), Carter (21043), Clay (21051), Clinton (21053), Cumberland (21057), Edmonson (21061), Elliott (21063), Floyd (21071), Greenup (21089), Harlan (21095), Jackson (21109), Jessamine (21113), Knott (21119), Knox (21121), Laurel (21125), Lee (21129), Leslie (21131), Letcher (21133), Magoffin (21153), Martin (21159), McCreary (21147), Menifee (21165), Mercer (21167), Morgan (21175), Perry (21193), Pike (21195), Powell (21197), Pulaski (21199), Rockcastle (21203), Rowan (21205), Wayne (21231), Whitley (21235)
MA Berkshire (25003), Hampden (25013)
MD Allegany (24001), Garrett (24023), Montgomery (24031)*, Washington (24043)
ME Oxford (23017)
MO Carter (29035), Crawford (29055), Iron (29093), Madison (29123), Phelps (29161), Pulaski (29169), Reynolds (29179), Shannon (29203), St. Francois (29187), Ste. Genevieve (29186), Stone (29209)*
NC Alleghany (37005), Ashe (37009), Avery (37011), Buncombe (37021), Caldwell (37027), Cherokee (37039), Clay (37043), Davidson (37057), Davie (37059), Forsyth (37067), Graham (37075), Guilford (37081), Haywood (37087), Henderson (37089), Jackson (37099), Macon (37113), Madison (37115), McDowell (37111), Mitchell (37121), Montgomery (37123), Randolph (37151), Rowan (37159), Rutherford (37161), Stanly (37167), Surry (37171), Swain (37173), Transylvania (37175), Watauga (37189), Wilkes (37193), Yancey (37199)
NH Cheshire (33005), Hillsborough (33011)
NJ Morris (34027), Passaic (34031)*, Sussex (34037)*
NY Albany (36001), Clinton (36019), Dutchess (36027), Essex (36031), Hamilton (36041), Jefferson (36045), Livingston (36051), Montgomery (36057), Onondaga (36067), Ontario (36069), Orange (36071), Putnam (36079), Schoharie (36095), St. Lawrence (36089), Ulster (36111), Warren (36113)
PA Armstrong (42005), Bedford (42009), Blair (42013), Bucks (42017), Carbon (42025), Centre (42027), Columbia (42037), Fayette (42051), Franklin (42055)*, Fulton (42057), Huntingdon (42061), Indiana (42063), Lackawanna (42069), Luzerne (42079), Lycoming (42081), Mifflin (42087), Monroe (42089), Northumberland (42097), Schuylkill (42107), Snyder (42109), Somerset (42111), Westmoreland (42129)
SC Greenville (45045), Oconee (45073), Pickens (45077)
TN Campbell (47013), Carter (47019), Cocke (47029), Cumberland (47035), Fentress (47049), Franklin (47051), Greene (47059), Johnson (47091), Marion (47115)*, Monroe (47123), Montgomery (47125)*, Morgan (47129), Polk (47139), Rhea (47143)*, Sevier (47155)*, Sullivan (47163), Unicoi (47171), Van Buren (47175), Warren (47177)*
VA Augusta (51015), Bath (51017), Bland (51021), Botetourt (51023)*, Buchanan (51027), Craig (51045), Dickenson (51051), Giles (51071)*, Highland (51091), Lee (51105), Page (51139), Rockingham (51165), Russell (51167), Scott (51169), Smyth (51173), Tazewell (51185), Wise (51195)
VT Addison (50001), Bennington (50003), Chittenden (50007), Franklin (50011), Orange (50017), Rutland (50021), Windham (50025), Windsor (50027)
WV Fayette (54019), Grant (54023), Greenbrier (54025), Hardy (54031), Mercer (54055), Monongalia (54061)*, Monroe (54063), Morgan (54065), Nicholas (54067), Pendleton (54071), Pocahontas (54075), Preston (54077), Randolph (54083), Tucker (54093), Webster (54101)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Lower Androscoggin (01040002)+, Merrimack (01070006)+, Upper Connecticut-Mascoma (01080104)+, White (01080105)+, Black-Ottauquechee (01080106)+, West (01080107)+, Middle Connecticut (01080201)+, Westfield (01080206)+, Housatonic (01100005)+
02 Upper Hudson (02020001)+, Hudson-Hoosic (02020003)+, Mohawk (02020004)+, Schoharie (02020005)+, Middle Hudson (02020006)+, Rondout (02020007)+, Hudson-Wappinger (02020008)+, Lower Hudson (02030101)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Lehigh (02040106)+, Schuylkill (02040203)+, Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna (02050107)+, Lower West Branch Susquehanna (02050206)+, Lower Susquehanna-Penns (02050301)+, Upper Juniata (02050302)+, Raystown (02050303)+, Lower Juniata (02050304)+, Lower Susquehanna-Swatara (02050305)+*, South Branch Potomac (02070001)+, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+, Cacapon-Town (02070003)+, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+, South Fork Shenandoah (02070005)+, North Fork Shenandoah (02070006)+, Middle Potomac-Catoctin (02070008)+*, Upper James (02080201)+
03 Upper Yadkin (03040101)+, Lower Yadkin (03040103)+, Upper Catawba (03050101)+, Upper Broad (03050105)+, Saluda (03050109)+, Seneca (03060101)+, Tugaloo (03060102)+, Upper Chattahoochee (03130001)+, Conasauga (03150101)+, Oostanaula (03150103)+, Etowah (03150104)+, Upper Coosa (03150105)+
04 Upper Genesee (04130002)+, Seneca (04140201)+, Oneida (04140202)+, Black (04150101)+, Oswegatchie (04150302)+, Indian (04150303)+, Mettawee River (04150401)+, Otter Creek (04150402)+, Winooski River (04150403)+, Ausable River (04150404)+, Missiquoi River (04150407)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+
05 Middle Allegheny-Redbank (05010006)+, Conemaugh (05010007)+, Lower Allegheny (05010009)+, Tygart Valley (05020001)+, Cheat (05020004)+, Lower Monongahela (05020005)+, Youghiogheny (05020006)+, Upper New (05050001)+, Middle New (05050002)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Lower New (05050004)+, Gauley (05050005)+, Tug (05070201)+, Upper Levisa (05070202)+, Lower Levisa (05070203)+, Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+, Little Sandy (05090104)+, Licking (05100101)+, North Fork Kentucky (05100201)+, Middle Fork Kentucky (05100202)+, South Fork Kentucky (05100203)+, Upper Kentucky (05100204)+, Lower Kentucky (05100205)+, Upper Green (05110001)+, Upper Cumberland (05130101)+, Rockcastle (05130102)+, Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland (05130103)+, South Fork Cumberland (05130104)+, Obey (05130105)+, Collins (05130107)+*, Caney (05130108)+, Lower Cumberland (05130205)+*, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+
06 North Fork Holston (06010101)+, South Fork Holston (06010102)+, Watauga (06010103)+, Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Pigeon (06010106)+, Lower French Broad (06010107)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+, Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)+, Upper Clinch (06010205)+, Powell (06010206)+, Lower Clinch (06010207)+, Emory (06010208)+, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+, Hiwassee (06020002)+, Ocoee (06020003)+, Guntersville Lake (06030001)+, Wheeler Lake (06030002)+
07 Meramec (07140102)+, Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105)+
08 Upper St. Francis (08020202)+
10 Upper Gasconade (10290201)+, Lower Gasconade (10290203)+
11 Beaver Reservoir (11010001)+*, Buffalo (11010005)+, Upper Black (11010007)+, Current (11010008)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small bat.
General Description: This is a very small bat with tiny feet, a dark mask, and dark ears. The tragus is long and pointed, and the tail reaches the edge of the interfemoral membrane. There are no prominent chin or nose flaps. The dorsal pelage is pale yellowish brown to golden brown. The ears are black, and the face has a black "mask." The belly hair varies from pale buff to whitish. The bases of the hairs on the back are blackish; wing and tail membranes are very dark brown. The base of the interfemoral membrane and under surfaces of wing membranes are sparsely furred. The calcar has a definitive keel. Sexes are similar; females have two mammae. Size is very small, with total length 72 to 84 mm, tail 30 to 39 mm, hind foot 6 to 8 mm, forearm 30-36 mm, and wingspread 212 to 248 mm; adult mass is 3 to 8 grams (Banfield 1974, Godin 1977, Schwartz and Schwartz 1981, Merritt 1987).

Excellent photographs of small-footed bats and their skulls have been published, including Barbour and Davis (1969, 1974), Whitaker (1980), and Merritt (1987). Also see skull illustrations in van Zyll de Jong (1984).

Diagnostic Characteristics: This bat differs from other sympatric bats by a) small size, < 8.5 cm, b) small hind foot, < 8 mm, c) black face, d) long-keeled calcar, and e) absence of a dark shoulder patch. It differs from M. lucifugus by having golden-tinted, almost yellowish fur and a shorter forearm. It differs from Pipistrellus subflavus by its lighter color, especially the light pinkish forearms, and lack of a keeled sternum (Godin 1977). The skull is much flatter than that of M. lucifugus, and the braincase is narrower; a sagittal crest may be present (Banfield 1974, Godin 1977, Schwartz and Schwartz 1981, Merritt 1987). See Whitaker and Hamilton (1998) for a key to the vespertilionid bats of eastern North America.
Reproduction Comments: Breeding may occur in the fall, with the sperm stored in the uterus over winter. Active gestation lasts probably two months, with a single offspring born annually, probably in early July (Merritt 1987).

Survival rates are significantly lower for females (42%) than for males (76%) (van Zyll de Jong 1985). One individual is reported to have lived 12 years (Hitchcock 1965).

Colonies are usually small (< 15, e.g. Hitchcock 1955), though a few number in the hundreds. Small maternity colonies of 12 to 20 individuals occurring in buildings have been reported (Merritt 1987).

Ecology Comments: Possible predators include domestic cats, mink, raccoons, opossum, fish, frogs, snakes, and birds of prey. Most of these are known to prey occasionally on other Myotis species (Barbour and Davis 1969).
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: This species makes localized migrations; long-distance migrations have not been documented. In Ontario, two were recovered in summer 16 and 19 km from the winter hibernation cave (Hitchcock 1955). Summer roost sites may be as close as 0.1 kilometers from winter hibernacula (Johnson and Gates 2008).

In West Virginia, males and females frequently switched summer roosts (Johnson et al. 2011). Males traveled an average of 41 meters between consecutive roosts, and roosted an average of 415 meters from capture locations. Females traveled an average of 66 meters between consecutive roosts, and roosted an average of 368 meters from capture locations.

Using ridgelines, streams, and forested roads as travel corridors, these bats have been observed travelling from 0.8 to 13.2 kilometers between daytime roost sites and foraging areas (see USFWS 2013).

Riverine Habitat(s): Aerial
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Aerial
Palustrine Habitat(s): Aerial, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Cliff, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed
Subterranean Habitat(s): Subterrestrial
Special Habitat Factors: Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Habitat is mostly hilly or mountainous, generally in or near deciduous or coniferous forest. Like many other bat species, this one often forages over ponds and streams; foraging habitat also includes riparian forests, upland forests, clearings, stripmines, and ridgetops (see USFWS 2013). Foraging flights tend to be slow and often within a few meters of the ground or water surface (Davis et al. 1965; Brack et al., unpublished, cited by USFWS 2013).

Warm-season roosts may be primarily in cracks or crevices of rocky outcrops or talus slopes but also have been found in buildings (including the slate roof of a house), bridges (e.g., in expansion joints, guardrail crevices), towers, hollow trees, spaces beneath the loose bark of trees, road cuts, rocky dams, caves, and mines (Tuttle 1964, Barbour and Davis 1969, Best and Jennings 1997, Roble 2004, Johnson and Gates 2008, Johnson et al. 2011, O'Keefe and LaVoie 2011, USFWS 2013, Whitby et al. 2013). The species relies heavily on rock roosts or similar man-made structures during the summer months (Erdle and Hobson 2001, Johnson et al. 2011). Roosts often are exposed to the sun but also may be under moderate to extensive canopy cover (Johnson et al. 2011, Thomson and O'Keefe 2012). Recaptures of marked individuals in successive years indicate that the bats exhibit fidelity to their summer roosts (see USFWS 2013).

In West Virginia, M. leibii used primarily ground-level rock roosts in talus slopes and rock fields, and sometimes roosted in vertical cliff faces; males and females frequently switched roosts (Johnson et al. 2011). Ground-level roosts had low canopy cover but were located close to vegetation. Ground-level roosts generally were a few hundred meters from ephemeral water sources; roosts used by females were closer to ephemeral water sources than were those used by males.

In Tennessee, two individuals found in April were under a large flat rock at the edge of a quarry surrounded by woods and cow pastures (Tuttle 1964). In late July and early August in southern Illinois, many individuals, including post-lactating females and juveniles were found under loose rocks on exposed rock outcrops (Whitby et al. 2013). In Ontario, about 12 of these bats were found in July behind the door of a shed that was kept open (i.e., positioned against the wall) (Hitchcock 1955). These bats have been seen resting in limestone caves in West Virginia in spring and summer (Krutzsch 1966).

By far most records come from observations of bats hibernating in winter in caves and mine tunnels. Hibernation occurs in solution and fissure caves and mine tunnels (including coal, iron, copper, and talc mines). Dunn and Hall (1989) noted that 52 percent of Pennsylvania hibernacula were small caves of less than 150 meters (500 feet) in length. Situations near the entrance where the air is relatively cold and dry seem to be preferred (Barbour and Davis 1969), though sometimes deeper locations are used (Schwartz and Schwartz 1981). Roost sites often are deep in crevices, or under rocks or in crevices on the cave floor, where the bats can be very difficult to find (Davis 1955, Krutzsch 1966, Martin et al. 1966). These bats are usually found singly or occasionally in small clusters, but many may be packed in a crevice; often they hang among other species (Marin et al. 1966). Individuals exhibit a high degree of fidelity to hibernacula and can be found in the same site in multiple years (Gates et al. 1984).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Diet includes various insects, especially moths, beetlesm and Diptera (Moosman et al. 2007, Johnson et al. 2012). Feeding flights are relatively slow and fluttery. The bats feed on flying insects and also glean prey from surfaces, based on the occurrence of spiders and gryllid crickets in the diet (Moosman et al. 2007).
Adult Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Activity season is relatively long. These bats seldom enter hibernacula before mid-November, and they depart generally in March (Godin 1977). They may arouse and depart from hibernacula during mild winter weather (Mohr 1936, Fenton 1972), though the activity and whereabouts of the bats during these episodes are poorly known.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 8 centimeters
Weight: 9 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: The eastern small-footed myotis is most vulnerable during hibernation. The caves and mines that serve as significant hibernacula should be protected from disturbance from November through March. If necessary, the entrance should be gated. Foraging areas (mostly streams and ponds) should be protected from pesticides and anything else that might adversely affect production of the bat's insect food. Forest should not be eliminated above or around hibernacula, nor around foraging areas. Public education about the value of bats is necessary in the long-term.
Restoration Potential: Pre-white-nose syndrome era: Restoration to formerly occupied caves may be possible if conditions of temperature, air flow, moisture, and access remain unchanged, but there is little guiding information. Mohr (1976) thought this an unlikely option: "Attempts to transfer bat populations from houses to tunnels in Pennsylvania (Mohr 1942) were totally unsuccessful and recent evidence of the extreme loyalty--philopatry--of bats to their accustomed caves (Tuttle 1975) leaves little hope for reestablishing deserted hibernating sites." There is evidence of Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) and big-eared bats (Corynorhinus spp.) returning to abandoned caves after gating or fencing (Craig Stihler, pers. comm.) In the case of gray bats (Myotis grisescens), Tuttle (1979) thought they might return to previously used caves, but that "any cave not already used by gray bats, however, should be assumed to be unsuitable for future use. Such caves probably do not provide essential temperature or roosting conditions, are too distant from acceptable foraging or hibernating sites, or are too vulnerable to predation or flooding." He thought that all suitable caves were probably occupied long before the arrival of man. Myotis leibii (among others) has found new habitat in certain mine tunnels, but little is known about the specific microhabitat conditions required.

Creation or preservation of upland water sources may be important for habitat management; the location of several day-roosts in rock fields within transmission line clearings suggests that habitat for the species can be created or restored in areas where heavy disturbance has occurred (Johnson et al. 2011).

Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Preserves should include sufficient buffer area above and around the hibernaculum cave to protect it from disturbances that might alter water and air flow, temperature, and humidity. Adjacent to summer roosts and maternity sites (in the unlikely event that they are known), sufficient foraging area (probably along a stream) should be protected from deforestation, contamination with pesticides, and other major impacts. Too little is known about this species' ecology to make more specific recommendations.
Management Requirements: With the present scarcity of pertinent information, management can focus only on protection of hibernation caves and summer roosts. The locations of caves, especially in remote areas, should not be publicized, and trails to entrances should be eliminated. Depending on the situation and potential for irresponsible traffic or vandalism, it may be useful to construct a fence or steel gate and/or place warning/interpretive signs. Hibernacula should be closed from November through March.

Public education as to the true nature and value of bats could avoid many problems and is urgently needed. Staff of national and state forests and parks, wildlife agencies, agricultural extension agents, and others in similar positions should be educated first so they can enlighten the public.

Foraging areas should be identified and protected from pesticides and other contaminants that may poison bats directly as well as destroy their food sources. Analysis of guano may be a convenient way of checking colonies for contamination (Clark 1988), in the rare cases of where summer colonies are known and there is sufficient accumulation. Bats for diagnostic study are generally frozen immediately. Consult a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Contaminant Field Specialist in cases of suspected poisoning or disease.

Logging above and around bat caves should be limited; deforestation can alter cave temperature, humidity, and air and water flow. Blasting in limestone mines or winter logging in the immediate vicinity of caves could cause arousal of hibernating bats. Some forest cover around the cave entrance and foraging area may offer significant protection from predators and periods of exceptionally cold spring weather (Tuttle 1979). Some Myotis species seem to require wooded corridors from roosts to feeding areas (Craig Stihler, pers. comm.).

Harvey (1981) offered cave protection suggestions: "Where gates are necessary, they should be used with extreme care to avoid detrimental effects to bats and cave microclimates. Each gate must be designed specifically for the cave to be protected, considering number of bats, type of colony, air flow, and entrance size and configuration. They should not be used at summer caves unless adequate free flight space can be provided above. Gates should be vertical (not horizontal or slanting) and should not be placed in entrances smaller than 1.8 m (6 ft) in diameter. Care must be taken so that gates do not restrict normal air flow. They should be constructed of welded steel bars 1.9 cm (3/4 inch) to 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter and of sufficient hardness to be invulnerable to bolt cutters. Free ends of bars should be grouted into solid rock. If a concrete footing is necessary, it should not extend above original ground level. Access openings should be constructed with durable hinges, hasps, and locks. Openings through which bats are expected to fly should be 15.2 cm (6 inches) vertically and 61 cm (24 inches) horizontally. In situations where vandalism is likely, a weak-link design may be employed. The lock, hasp, or some other easily replaceable part should be relatively weak so that vandals, if determined, can break in without doing excessive damage to the gate." [Modern gates constructed with 4-inch (10-cm) angle iron may make this unnecessary; also, latest designs minimize the number of vertical members, which seem to disturb bats (Craig Stihler, pers. comm.).]

"At some caves, especially those with sinkhole entrances, a simple vertical gate is impractical. In these situations a 'cage' or 'box' type gate may be necessary so that bats can fly up into the 'box' and then out through vertical openings. If gates are used at summer caves, they should be 'half-gates.' Such a gate is practical only in large cave entrances, where it can extend part way to the ceiling and still allow adequate space (at least 1 m, ideally more) above the gate through which bats can fly" (Harvey 1981). ["Half-gates" are probably only necessary for caves used also by gray bats (Craig Stihler, pers. comm.).] After gates are placed at cave entrances, bat activity should be monitored to assure that gates are not having detrimental effects on bat populations. Gates should be inspected periodically and often so that necessary repairs can be made promptly." (Harvey 1981).

"Fences do not afford as much protection as steel gates and are easier to cut or climb. Nevertheless, circumstances at some caves make fences more practical, especially in situations where gates might result in abandonment of the cave by bats. Chainlink, barbed-wire-topped fences with posts set in concrete are recommended. Barbed-wire should not extend into flight space required by bats" (Harvey 1981). [The bottoms of fences must also be secured; people going underneath are a problem (Craig Stihler, pers. comm.).]

"At caves which are infrequently visited, or which can be easily observed by the landowner, a sign alone may be adequate to prevent disturbance. In some circumstances, a sign might attract unnecessary attention to a cave, in which case the management agency might place a sign inside the cave, or not use a sign." (Harvey 1981).

"Signs should be of durable construction and fixed solidly in place to minimize vandalism, and should be placed so as to not interfere with bat flight patterns or air flow. They should be located where potential violators will see them, and should be placed behind the gate or fence if such a structure has been erected. Wording may vary from cave to cave, but signs should contain both a warning and interpretive message. At many caves it may be permissible to permit entry during times of the year when bats are not present. A sign containing that message, plus information on how to obtain a key to gated or fenced caves, might discourage vandals and encourage the cooperation of spelunkers. Where a cave is located in a public use area, the management agency may wish to use a more elaborate sign with a more detailed interpretive message" (Harvey 1981).

White and Seginak (1987) also discussed gate designs for bat caves.

Monitoring Requirements: Monitoring bats in their winter hibernacula may have an adverse impact if not approached with care (see threats comments), but this remains the most effective censusing method. Hibernacula should be checked and bat numbers counted or estimated no more often than once a winter, and preferably every other year. Use only two or three trained people, already familiar with the cave and procedures. Tuttle (1979) stated: "At all times, the use of dim electric lights and avoidance of unnecessary noise greatly reduce disturbance. Lights that are adjustable for intensity are ideal." Work should be completed as quickly as possible.

Survey for Myotis leibii presence is accomplished by sampling over streams and at cave entrances from April through October, using mist nets about 2.1 m (7 ft) tall and of various lengths. Bat traps are also used (Tuttle 1974).

With experience this species can be recognized in flight, as noted by Merritt (1987): "Unique is the movement of M. leibii during foraging. In a slow, fluttering movement, the small-footed myotis forages over or near ponds and streams. This slow flight is rather atypical for a bat of such small size." "Their smallness and slow flight made them easy to recognize as they fluttered about. They seemed to detect our net and avoided it, but were easily captured in hand nets" (Barbour and Davis 1969).

Management Research Needs: Very little is known about the ecology, reproduction, and life history of this species. Especially needed is knowledge of critical habitat requirements, including hibernacula, summer roost and maternity sites, and foraging areas, food sources and impacts on them, and reproductive biology. Movements between hibernacula and summer sites need to be investigated.

The potential for translocation of colonies threatened by habitat destruction needs study (Mohr 1976).

There is still a need for new monitoring methods that are accurate and minimize impact on the bats.

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
Subtype(s):
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.
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: 31Mar2015
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Management Information Edition Author: Sam J. Norris
Management Information Acknowledgments: Information shared by the several natural heritage programs, and the tireless efforts of Barbara Sargent of WVNHP, made possible the completion of this report. Craig Stihler of WVDNR kindly opened his files to me and made valuable suggestions.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 02Apr2015
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G., P. Novak, and S. J. Norris

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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