Field Guide to Mammals
of Southern California
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Long-Legged Myotis (Myotis volans)
Long-legged myotis is found from southern Alaska south through western Canada to northern Mexico (Harvey and others 1999). It occurs throughout California from near sea level along the coast to high elevations, over 10,000 feet (3,050 meters), in the Sierra Nevada and White Mountains (Philpott 1997).
There are four recognized subspecies of long-legged myotis: M. v. amoptus, M. v. interior, M .v. longicrus, and M. v. volans. Both M. v. interior and M. v. longicrus probably occur on the four southern California national forests (Hall 1981).
Long-legged myotis occur in pinyon-juniper, Joshua tree woodland, and montane coniferous forest habitats, as well as in forested habitat along the coast (Philpott 1997). It may also be found in streamside and arid habitats (Harvey and others 1999), with the exception of low-elevation desert (Philpott 1997). These bats are also associated with water in many areas, flying 10–15 feet (3–4.6 meters) over ponds, streams, water tanks, and open meadows (Arizona Game and Fish Department 1999). These bats primarily use hollow trees - particularly large diameter snags or live trees with lightning scars - for day roosts, but they also use rock crevices, mines, and buildings. Caves and mine tunnels can be used for night roosts (Philpott 1997) and hibernacula (Bogan and others 1998, Stephenson and Calcarone 1999, Warner and Czaplewski 1984). Radio-tracking studies have located maternity roosts beneath bark and in tree cavities. Nursery colonies have been found in trees that are at least 100 year-old and provide crevices or exfoliating bark (Bat Conservation International 2002). Maternity colonies are also found in rock crevices, cliffs, and buildings (Bat Conservation International 2002).
Copulation occurs in August, and ovulation occurs March–May (Arizona Game and Fish Department 1999). Females give birth to one young per year during June–July (Philpott 1997). Maternity colonies can consist of 200–500 individuals (Philpott 1997).
Long-legged myotis emerge from their roosts at twilight and are active throughout the night, with activity peaking during the first 3–4 hours after sunset (Harvey and others 1999). Long-legged myotis hibernate but are capable of winter activity (Philpott 1997). The species is assumed to be a year-round resident in California (Philpott 1997).
Diet and Foraging
Long-legged myotis feed primarily on moths, but may also prey on beetles, flies, and termites (Philpott 1997). These bats commonly forage at canopy height in open areas but may forage nearer the ground as daylight approaches (Arizona Game and Fish Department 1999, Philpott 1997). Long-legged myotis forage over ponds, streams, water tanks, and in forest clearings (Bat Conservation International 2002).
No information is available on territoriality or home range for long-legged myotis.
Bats are preyed upon by a variety of predators including, but not limited to, owls, hawks, snakes, raccoons, and skunks. Predators may take bats during flight, when bats emerge from or enter roosting sites, and opportunistically when bats fall to the floor of roosting sites (Harvey and others 1999).
Arizona Game and Fish Department. 1999. Arizona wildlife views (special edition). Phoenix, AZ: Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Brown-Berry, P. 2002. Species account for West Mohave planning area. Brown-Berry Biological Consulting, 134 Wilkes Crest, Bishop, California 93514
Bat Conservation International. 2002. Bat Conservation International web site, species descriptions. [Homepage of Bat Conservation International, Inc.], [Online]. Available: http://www.batcon.org/.
Bogan, M.A.; Valdez, E.W.; Nvo, K.W. 1998. Long-legged myotis, Myotis volans. In: Ecology, conservation, and management of western bat species: bat species accounts. Unpublished document distributed at the Western Bat Working Group Workshop, February 9-13, 1998, Reno, NV.
Federal Register. 1994. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; Animal candidate review for listing as endangered or threatened species, proposed rule. Department of the Interior. Tuesday, November 15, 1994. 50 CFR Part 17.
Harvey, M.J.; Altenbach, J.S.; Best, T.L. 1999. Bats of the United States. Arkansas: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Philpott, W. 1997. Summaries of the life histories of California bat species. Unpublished document. USDA Forest Service, Sierra National Forest, Pineridge Ranger Station.
Stephenson, J.R.; Calcarone, G.M. 1999. Southern California mountains and foothills assessment: Habitat and species conservation issues. General Technical Report GTR-PSW-175. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Warner, R.M.; Czaplewski, N.J. 1984. Myotis volans. Mammalian species, No. 224. The American Society of Mammalogists.
Western Bat Working Group. 1998. Western bat species: Regional priority matrix. Developed at Western Bat Working Group Workshop, Reno, NV. February 9-13, 1998.
Information gathered from California DFG - California Interagency Wildlife Task Group