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Lasionycteris noctivagans (Le Conte, 1831)

Silver-haired Bat

Federal Protection: No US federal protection

State Protection: No Georgia state protection

Global Rank: G3G4

State Rank: S5

SWAP High Priority Species (SGCN): No

Element Occurrences (EOs) in Georgia: 0

Habitat Summary for element in Georgia: Georgia habitat information not available


Description

Silver-haired bats get their name from the silvery tips of the fur on both the back and belly. Their wings and tail membranes are dark brown to black, and the tail membrane is heavily furred on the upper surface. Silver-haired bats weigh 5-6 g (3/16-9/16 oz) and are 90-113 mm (3½-4⅜ in) in total length. Their wingspan ranges from 27 to 31 centimeters (270-310 mm) while their average forearm length is 3.9 centimeters (39 mm).

Similar Species

Habitat

The silver-haired bat is associated with forest and grassland habitats and is often abundant in old-growth forests. During the summer, these solitary bats may be found roosting in hollow trees, beneath the loose bark of trees, and even beneath rocks. During migration, they may also be found in buildings, in trees and occasionally in caves.

Diet

Silver-haired bats are insectivorous. They are known to feed on flies, midges, leafhoppers, moths, mosquitoes, beetles, caddisflies, ants, crickets and occasionally, spiders.

Life History

The Silver-haired bat is a generally solitary species, typically roosting alone or in small groups. During the summer months, males and females will be geographically separated from one another, coming together only in the fall for breeding. They breed once a year in the fall during migration and after a gestation period of 57 days, the female will give birth to one to two pups. Offspring will reach sexual maturity within 145 to 160 days. Typical lifespan ranges from 4-12 years in the wild.

Survey Recommendations

Classic survey methods for silver-haired bats include mist-netting over water sources and the use of ultrasonic bat detectors. Mist netting surveys in Georgia should follow guidelines laid out on our Bat Survey Guidance webpage (http://www.georgiawildlife.com/BatSurveyGuidance).

Range

The silver-haired bat ranges from southern Alaska and Canada south throughout the United States to Bermuda and northeastern Mexico.They occur irregularly over these areas but is most abundant in forested sections of the western United States. Little is known about the migratory patterns of this species but it is thought that many may migrate long distances between summer and winter habitats.

Threats

Although the silver-haired bat has no special endangered or threatened status at this time, human activities such as habitat destruction for urban development pose a threat due to habitat loss.  

Georgia Conservation Status

There are no state-level protections for this species.

Conservation Management Recommendations

Vondoff (1996) proposed various management practices to provide the best opportunity to conserve suitable roosting habitat for the silver-haired bat. These practices include selection harvesting to reduce understory and maintain lower density, large-diameter trees, prescribed fire (low-intensity burns), and retention of large areas of forest.

References

Barbour, R.W. and W. H. Davis. 1969. Bats of America. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.

Bentley, Justin. “Lasionycteris Noctivagans (Silver-Haired Bat).” Animal Diversity Web, animaldiversity.org/accounts/Lasionycteris_noctivagans/.

Schmidt, Cheryl A. “Conservation Assessment for the Silver-Haired Bat in the Black Hills National Forest South Dakota and Wyoming.” United States Department of Agriculture. April 2003. 

Schwartz, Charles W, and Elizabeth R Schwartz. The Wild Mammals of Missouri. Vol. 3, University of Missouri Press, 2016.

Authors of Account

Sarah Krueger

Date Compiled or Updated

S. Krueger, March 2020