USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

North Dakota's

Federally Listed Endangered, Threatened, and Candidate Species – 1995

Long-legged Myotis (Myotis volans)

GIF -- species photo gif--species map

Note: If you have a photo of this species that you feel would be appropriate for this resource, please contact us at All photos will be properly credited and will remain the property of the photographer.

Status: Former Candidate (Note: As of February 28, 1996, this species is no longer listed as a Candidate species. However, it remains a species of management concern.)

Historical Status:

Present Status:
The long-legged myotis inhabits western North America from extreme southeastern Alaska and western Canada to central Mexico. It reaches the eastern limits of distribution on the northern plains, occurring in the western parts of the Dakotas and northwestern Nebraska. Two subspecies occur in the United States. Myotis volans interior, whose distribution is presented on the map below, occupies the major part of the range and the darker Myotis volans longicrus is found in the Pacific Northwest.

The long-legged myotis is primarily a coniferous forest bat but occasionally is found in evergreen-deciduous forests, and it evidently tolerates the essentially treeless, barren badlands of northwestern Nebraska and the western Dakotas. These bats frequently are collected as they forage over woodland meadows or watercourses. This species utilizes a variety of roosts including abandoned buildings, cracks in the ground, crevices in a cliff face, and spaces beneath bark of a tree. Caves and mines are not used by day but are used during hibernation.

Life History:
This myotis species emerges in the evening while it is still light enough for them to be readily seen. They are active throughout most of the night feeding primarily on moths although it is known to consume a variety of other invertebrates, including flies, termites, lacewings, wasps, bugs, leafhoppers, and small beetles. This species is a rapid, direct flier and pursues prey over relatively long distances. The long-legged myotis is known to live a minimum of 21 years. On the Northern Plains, young normally are born from mid-July through mid-August, later tban in other bats. Litter size is one and nursery colonies may include up to several hundred individuals.

Aid to identification:
The long-legged myotis is medium sized among members of the genus and can be readily distinguished in the field by the combination of its short rounded ears that barely reach the nostril when laid forward, small hindfeet, and distinctly keeled calcar. The long-legged myotis is also the only brown bat with its belly fur extending onto the wing to a line joining tbe elbow and knee. Its color is usually dark, but variable, ranging from russet red to nearly black. Total length is 3 3/8-4 1/8" (87-103 mm); tail, 1 1/2-1 7/8" (37-49 mm); hind foot, 1/4-3/8" (8-10 mm); ear, 1/2"(12-14 mm); forearm, 1 3/8-1 3/4 " (35-42 mm); weight usually 6-9 g.

Reasons for decline:
Present and threatened destruction of habitat may be tbe most important factor concerning tbe existence of this species. They are very vulnerable to mine closures since these sites are important maternity and hibernation sites. They are also affected by disturbance from recreation at these sites. Pesticides and other environmental contaminants destroy their prey base. Bats are also known for loading of pesticides in their fat reserves.

Notify a natural resources agency on any suspected long-legged myotis sightings.

The genus name Myotis, means mouse-eared and tbe species name, volans, means flying. Anotber name given to this species is hairy-winged myotis.

Mammals of the Northern Great Plains by J.K. Jones Jr. et. al, 1983.

Previous Species -- Long-eared Myotis
Return to Contents
Next Species -- Small-footed Myotis

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 07:20:08 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww54]