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Long-legged Myotis

Long-legged Myotis

North Dakota Species of Conservation Priority III

Fact Sheet
Scientific Name Myotis volans
General Description A large western bat growing to 4 inches with a wingspan of 10-12 inches. Pelage is dark brown and extends out along the underside of the wings. Wings and short, round ears are black.
Status Possible year-round resident. May migrate short distances to find suitable hibernacula in winter.
Abundance Rare.
Primary Habitat Found in the badlands of western North Dakota and along the Missouri River. Normally found in rugged terrain, they roost alone or in small groups in rock crevices and under tree bark. This species has a strong association with coniferous trees.
Federal Status No current federal status.
Reason for Designation Little is known about this species in North Dakota. Although rare to the state there are some indications that it is declining range-wide.

Locations and Conditions of Key Habitat

Preferred Habitat

This species is found mostly in close relation to conifer stands. Uses tree snags, crevices, buildings and cliffs for roosting.

Key Areas and Conditions for Long-legged Bat in North Dakota

The ponderosa pine area of the badlands has been identified as a key area for the long-legged bat. This species has also been documented along the Missouri River in Central North Dakota.

Problems Which May Affect this Species


This and other bat species in the state rely on caves and crevices for hibernacula and maternal grounds. These sites are susceptible to human and other types of disturbance. Frequent disturbance may cause females to drop young in the rearing process or abandon the area.

Other Natural or Manmade Factors

Long-legged bat and other bats in North Dakota are insectivores. Pesticides used in the vicinity of feeding grounds would affect bat populations by killing prey. Also, bats are known to store pesticides within fat reserves. Loss of water sources for drinking is also a potential threat. When natural water sources are dry, bats may resort to drinking from stock tanks. These can be potential bat traps. Wind turbines have been identified as a source of mortality to bats and several turbine “farms” are under construction in parts of North Dakota. Indiscriminate killing due to a negative public perception has been identified as a possible threat to this species.

Research and Survey Efforts

Current Research or Surveys

  • Identification of hibernacula in western North Dakota as well as their susceptibility to White-nose Syndrome is being conducted by North Dakota State University.
  • North Dakota State University is currently developing a North Dakota Bat Management Plan.

Previous Research or Surveys

  • A survey of bat species in the state was conducted by North Dakota State University
  • A number of agencies have surveyed for small mammals in the southwestern part of the state including, REAP, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Additional Research or Surveys Needed

Research to assess primary threats to this species.

Management Recommendations

  • Protection and restoration of riparian habitat.
  • Manage riparian habitats to maintain snags, connecting corridors, and edges.
  • Maintain and improve seeps, ponds, and other wet areas as water sources.
  • Education on the benefits and misconceptions about bats.
  • Determine and protect nursery and hibernation sites.
  • Provide roosting sites in areas where natural sites have been destroyed or disturbed.
  • Reduce use of pesticides near waterways where bats forage.

Monitoring Plans

A monitoring protocol will be addressed in the North Dakota Bat Management Plan currently under development.

2005-2015 Progress

The Long-legged bat maintains its Level III Species of Conservation Priority ranking due to its fringe species status. SWG T2-5-R Distribution and Habitat Use of the Bats of North Dakota increased the information known for this species including a range expansion. Continued work is need to address threats to this species and implementation of a monitoring plan.

Range Map

Note: A listing of works consulted when compiling the information on this page may be found in the 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan.