Most eastern North American Myotis roost in forests during summer, with species forming maternity populations, or colonies, in cavities or crevices or beneath the bark of trees. In winter, these bats hibernate in caves and are experiencing overwinter mortalities due to infection from the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which causes white-nose syndrome (WNS). Population recovery of WNS-affected species is constrained by the ability of survivors to locate habitats suitable for rearing pups in summer. Forests in eastern North America have been severely altered by deforestation, land-use change, fragmentation and inadvertent introduction of exotic insect pests, resulting in shifts in tree distributions and loss of large-diameter canopy-dominant trees. This paper explores patterns in use of tree roosts by species of Myotis across Canada and the United States using meta-data from published sources. Myotis in western Canada, the Northwest, and Southwest selected the largest diameter roost trees and also supported the largest maximum exit counts. Myotis lucifugus, M. septentrionalis and M. sodalis, three species that inhabit eastern forests and which are currently experiencing region-wide mortalities because of WNS, selected roosts with the smallest average diameters. Recovery efforts for bark- and cavity-roosting Myotis in eastern North American forests could benefit from management that provides for large-diameter trees that offer more temporally-stable structures for roosting during the summer maternity season.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
The following are available online at https://www.mdpi.com/1424-2818/10/2/29/s1, Table S1: Supplemental file of legacy structure data base.
This manuscript (KAES No.: 18-09-031) is connected with a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with support and approval of the director.
Lacki, Michael J., "Restoration of Legacy Trees as Roosting Habitat for Myotis Bats in Eastern North American Forests" (2018). Forestry and Natural Resources Faculty Publications. 23.