We examined changes in the assemblage of bats in southern Lower Michigan, USA, using results of paired netting surveys conducted with similar techniques but separated by 12–26 years. Species diversity declined by 18–35% and evenness decreased by 0–35% throughout the region and in two specific areas. Changes in diversity and evenness were attributed primarily to decreases of 44% or more in relative abundance of the foliage-roosting eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis). Number of L. borealis captured per net-night decreased 52–85%. The decline in relative abundance of L. borealis suggested by mist netting was supported by a 10-fold decrease over 38 years in the proportion of L. borealis that were tested for rabies by the state health laboratory. The apparent decline in L. borealis is especially alarming in light of the recent upsurge in use of wind power and the large number of L. borealis that are killed at such developments. We recommend that other previously completed surveys in eastern North America be duplicated, as one way of helping to confirm or refute the trend that we have identified.
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