Bats are important bio-indicators of ecosystem health and provide a number of ecosystem services. White-nose Syndrome and habitat loss have led to the decline of many bat species in eastern North America, including the federally threatened northern long-eared bat, Myotis septentrionalis. White-nose Syndrome was only recently found in Nebraska, which lies on the western extent of this species geographic range. To better understand how this forest-dependent species persists in an agriculturally dominated landscape amid a growing number of pressures, we investigated the roosting habits of this bat at the Homestead National Monument of America, located in southeast Nebraska. We mist-netted bats on eight nights in 2019 (16 August–26 August) and caught 55 bats across five species, including five juvenile northern long-eared bats. We located five unique roosts between two juvenile radio-tracked bats; most of the female roosts were in anthropogenic structures and tree cavities within 0.23 km of capture, while most of the male roosts were in snags and tree cavities as far as 2.73 km from the capture site. Fence cavities were also used by other undocumented northern long-eared bats. We recorded three radio-tagged bats that commuted between roosting sites and capture sites within hours after sunset. Our results provide evidence that at the distributional edge for this species, wooded areas, riparian zones, and human-built structures in an intensively managed agricultural landscape are used by this imperiled species.
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Vol. 185 • No. 2