To understand bat biology and appreciate their dependence on and role within forested ecosystems, the biological resolution at which studies are directed must elucidate species and gender patterns. We studied species- and gender-specific aspects of summer range extent and stand selection in northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) and little brown bats (M. lucifugus) in the Greater Fundy Ecosystem, New Brunswick, Canada, using trapping, radiotelemetry, and ultrasonic monitoring. Our results suggested that this 2-species system is comprised of 4 ecologically distinct groups with respect to site selection and range extent for roosting and foraging. All bats exhibited an affinity to specific roosting areas. Myotis septentrionalis roosted and foraged in the forest interior. The roosting and foraging areas for females were 6.1 times and 3.4 times larger, respectively, than for males. Both genders foraged in site types in proportion to their availability. Myotis lucifugus females roosted in buildings outside the core study area, and those captured in the forested landscape were transients. Compared to male and female M. septentrionalis, male M. lucifugus had intermediate-sized roosting areas but the largest foraging areas. Water sites were selected during foraging more than expected. Bat foraging activity, measured acoustically at 8 site types, was greatest at lakes and least above the forest canopy. Male M. lucifugus activity levels were positively associated with temperature and the amount of mature coniferous forest and water within 1 km of the sampling site, and they were negatively associated with the amount of mature deciduous forest within 1 km of the site. Our results suggested that understanding gender effects is crucial for accurate characterization of forest bat habitats. Studies of bats that combine data for genders, species, or guilds may produce spurious results and may be of minimal value for, or actually hinder, bat conservation and management programs.
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