Bat research valuable for Great Swamp refuge and beyond

When these hibernating endangered Indiana bats (and the little brown bats that are next to the Indiana bats here) leave for the summer, some head to Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Ann Froschauer/USFWS
When these hibernating endangered Indiana bats (and the little brown bats that are next to the Indiana bats here) leave for the summer, some head to Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Ann Froschauer/USFWS

When these hibernating endangered Indiana bats (and the little brown bats that are next to the Indiana bats here) leave for the summer, some head to Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Ann Froschauer/USFWS

If you’re out at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey just before sunset, you may catch a glimpse of a returning summer resident, sweeping through the twilight like a flickering, acrobatic shadow. If you’re especially observant, you may notice that these winged silhouettes look slightly bigger than they did a few years ago.

From 2006 through 2010, research showed that the refuge offered ideal habitat for the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), and at the time, supported several maternity colonies of Indiana bats. The little brown (Myotis lucifugus), northern (Myotis septentrionalis), tricolored (Perimyotis subflavus), big brown (Eptesicus fuscus), and eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) are some other common bat species known to spend summers at Great Swamp.

Check out other stories of endangered plant and animal conservation in the Northeast – We’re sharing them throughout the year!

But during this time, white-nose syndrome (WNS) hit northern New Jersey. The rapidly spreading fungal disease has devastated populations of hibernating bats across the U.S. since its discovery in 2006.

In the summer of 2012, employees at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge began piecing together the impacts of WNS on refuge bats. Annual capture rates of small bats – Indiana, little brown, northern and tricolored bats – plummeted, while capture rates of larger species, including big brown and eastern red bats, began to gradually climb. Unlike before the local outbreak of WNS, considerably more large-bodied bats than small-bodied bats were captured. …Keep reading this story!

5 Comments on “Bat research valuable for Great Swamp refuge and beyond

  1. Glad to hear that research continues, and that this result echoes research done in NY. There are 2 errors in this article referring to bat species’ names: the northern (formerly known as long-eared) bat that occurs in NJ is Myotis septentrionalis, not Eptesicus nilssonii, which is another species found in northern Eurasia. The little brown bat in NJ is Myotis lucifugus, not M. lucifugus occultus, which is the Arizona bat that generally occurs in the southwest. Surprised to see that kind of error in a FWS piece.

  2. We need more bats! They eat those nasty mesquitos that carry west nile virus, heartworm and malaria.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: