Despite 4 decades of conservation concern, managing endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) populations remains a difficult wildlife resource issue facing natural resource managers in the eastern United States. After small signs of population recovery, the recent emergence of white-nose syndrome has led to concerns of local and/or regional extirpation of the species. Where Indiana bats persist, retaining high-quality foraging areas will be critical to meet physiological needs and ensure successful recruitment and overwinter survival. However, insight into foraging behavior has been lacking in the Northeast of the USA. We radio-tracked 12 Indiana bats over 2 summers at Fort Drum, New York, to evaluate factors influencing Indiana bat resource selection during night-time foraging. We found that foraging space use decreased 2% for every 100 m increase in distance to water and 6% for every 100 m away from the forest edge. This suggests high use of riparian areas in close proximity to forest and is somewhat consistent with the species' foraging ecology in the Midwest and upper South. Given the importance of providing access to high-quality foraging areas during the summer maternity season, Indiana bat conservation at the northern extent of the species' range will be linked to retention of forested habitat in close proximity to riparian zones.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nature and Landscape Conservation