Meet Muncie's Microbats

9 species of bats may be found in Delaware County, with 13 total species documented throughout our state.

BUT FIRST, A QUICK SAFETY CHECK:

never touch a wild bat!

 Find a nearby, permitted wildlife rehabilitator  here.

Indiana Bat

SCROLL DOWN TO START LEARNING, OR SKIP TO A BAT:

Moth art

Bats [Chiroptera] are the 2nd largest order of mammals – with 1,400+ species worldwide! They play key roles in global ecosystems by providing pest control (insects), pollinating plants (agave, guava), dispersing fruit seeds (avocados, bananas), & dropping nutrients (guano) that support cave-dwelling insects and amphibians. Scroll down to learn about our local bats!

all bats in Indiana share the following:

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom:
Phylum:

Subphylum:
Class:
Subclass:
Infraclass:
Order:
Suborder:
Family:

Animalia [animals]
Chordata [chordates]

Vertebrata [vertebrates]
Mammalia [mammals]
Theria [live-bearing mammals]
Eutheria [placental mammals]
Chiroptera [bats]
Microchiroptera [microbats]
Vespertilionidae [evening + vesper bats]

*our local bats have different subfamilies, genera (genus), & species.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES

  • free pest control by eating harmful & pesky insects (helps farmers & the crops we eat!)

HABITAT

  • use of forests (woodlands, wetlands, & riparian areas)

THREATS

  • White-nose syndrome (WNS)

  • habitat loss (deforestation), invasive species, and cave/mine disturbances

  • climate change (severe & frequent changes in weather patterns)

  • pollutants (use of pesticides & herbicides)

  • wind turbines

  • harmful myths and misinformation

DIET

  • insects (mosquitoes, beetles, stink bugs, & moths)

TRAITS

  • use of echolocation

  • nocturnal (active at night)

  • plain noses (no nose leaf)

  • ears possess a tragus

  • small eyes

  • long tails

 

Now, let's meet our local bats!

USE THIS CONSERVATION STATUS KEY:

SC = State Special Concern

SE = State Endangered

FT = Federal Threatened

FE = Federal Endangered

 
 

& THESE HELPFUL TERMS:

Calcar = a cartilage, spike-shaped structure that arises from the ankle and extends toward the tail (a spur)
Calcar (Keeled)
= a calcar that extends/protrudes the tail membrane (look for a triangle shape near feet)
Conservation
= the act of keeping & protecting from waste, loss, or destruction
Deforestation
= the cutting down of forests or groups of trees for non-forest use
Echolocation
= process of locating objects using sound waves (used for navigation, hunting, & social calls)
Ecosystem
= all living and non-living things in an area (plants, animals, soil, water, air)
Extirpated 
= a species that is no longer observed in a specific region (some call it a "local extinction")
Foliage
= the leaves, flowers, and branches of a tree
Forage 
= to search for food
Fragmentation
= process of a large habitat area being transformed into smaller, isolated patches
Hibernacula
= a place where bats hibernate during winter (caves, mines, crevices in rocks, built structures)
Invasive Species
= species not native to where they are found (can disturb local ecosystems)
Maternity Colony
= a temporary gathering of pregnant female bats for giving birth & raising baby bats (pups!)
Migratory
= species that migrate (most bat species that roost in trees during summer migrate south for winter)
Myotinae
= mouse-eared, silver-haired, and wing-gland bats (a subfamily of Vespertilionidae, vesper bats)
Nocturnal
= active at night
Pesticide
= a chemical substance used to kill insects that harms plants and crops (& the animals that eat them)
Riparian area
= relating to or living or located on the banks of a natural waterway (river, stream, reservoir)
Roost
= any place wild bats live (trees, caves, mines, built structures, & sometimes bat boxes)
Tragus
= a cartilage structure within the ear, located in front of ear canal (assists in echolocation)
Uropatagium
= membrane stretching between legs, encompassing all/parts of tail (assists in flight)
Vespertilioninae
= evening, forest, pipistrelle, & serotine bats (a subfamily of Vespertilionidae, vesper bats)
Wetlands
= areas where water covers or floods the soil (marshes, swamps)
White-nose Syndrome (WNS) 
= fungal disease killing cave-dwelling bats in North America (whitenosesyndrome.org)
Woodlands
= land covered with trees 

Can't find a word you're looking for? Check out the glossary for more terms & resources.

 

Myotis sodalis

INDIANA BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SE & FE
Subfamily =
Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

Moth-Outline.png
v2IndianaBat-watercolor_noBg_edited.png

CHARACTERISTICS

Length = 3 - 3½ inches

Weight = 5 - 11 grams

Wingspan = 9½ - 10½ inches

Lifespan = 15 years (average)

Fur = dark gray to brown above & gray below; soft & fluffy

Tragus = slender & pointed

Calcar = keeled

Other = short toe hairs; wings & body are same color

ROOSTING HABITS

Summer = forest trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark)

Winter = caves & mines

Size = small to large groups, in tight clusters

 

Eptesicus fuscus

BIG BROWN BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = 
Subfamily = Vespertilioninae
Genus = Eptesicus [big brown, forest, & serotine bats]

BigBrownBat-noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
Length
= 4½ - 5 inches
Weight
= 13 - 25 grams
Wingspan
= 13 inches (average)
Lifespan
= up to 20 years
Fur
= two-toned, black base with brown tips; long; oily
Tragus
= broad & rounded
Calcar
= keeled
Other
= short, blunt ears; black snout, ears, & wing membrane; very large bat

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= forest trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark) & structures
Winter
= caves, mines, & structures
Size
= solitary, or small groups
This species will use a bat house.

Petunia, Big Brown Bat
Chocolate, Big Brown Bat

Photo descriptions: 

Petunia eating a mealworm & Chocolate; 2 big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscusphotographed during an Indiana Master Naturalist class on local bats, led by Dr. Tim Carter.

2019 Kortnie Huffman

meet 2 local big brown bats!

 

LITTLE BROWN BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SE
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

Myotis lucifugus

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 2½ - 4 inches
Weight
= 7 - 8 grams
Wingspan
= 8¾ - 10½ inches
Lifespan
= 6 - 10 years (average)
Fur
= tan to dark brown; long; glossy
Tragus
= slender & pointed
Calcar
= no keel
​Other
= long toe hairs (extend beyond claws); dark wings

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= forest trees (cavities/crevices) & structures
Winter
= caves, mines, & structures
Size
= small to large groups, in tight clusters
This species will use a bat house.

LittleBrownBat-noBg_edited.png
 

Perimyotis subflavus

TRICOLORED BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SE
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Perimyotis

Formerly known as the eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus).

Moth-Outline_edited.png
Redone-TriColoredBat-noBg_edited.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3 - 3½ inches
Weight
= 4 - 7 grams
Wingspan
= 8½ - 10 inches
Lifespan
= 4 - 8 years (average)
Fur
= "tricolored" – brown to tan to orange
Tragus
= blunt & straight
Calcar
= no keel
​Other
= pink forearms; black wings

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= forest trees (cavities/crevices; foliage)
Winter
= caves & mines
Size
= solitary, or small groups

 

Myotis septentrionalis

NORTHERN LONG-EARED BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SE & FT
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3 inches (average)
Weight
= 5 - 10 grams
Wingspan
= 9 - 10 inches
Lifespan
= up to 18 years
Fur
= grayish below, brown on top; dull
Tragus
= very long & slender
Calcar
= keeled
​Other
= large ears

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= forest trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark) & under bridges or porches
Winter
= caves & mines
Size
= solitary, or very small groups
This species will use a bat house.

NorthernLongEaredBat_noBg.png
 

SILVER-HAIRED BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Status = SC
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Lasionycteris [silver-haired bats]

SilverhairedBat-noBg.png

Lasionycteris noctivagans

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3½ - 4½ inches
Weight
= 7 - 16 grams
Wingspan
= 10½ - 12 inches
Lifespan
= 5 - 10 years
Fur
= black or dark brown with silver/white frosted tips
Tragus
= blunt & rounded
Calcar
= no keel
Other
= completely furred; black ears

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
Spring-Fall
= trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark; leaf litter; occasionally in walls, attics, or caves
Winter
= migrates south
Size
= solitary, or small groups

 

Nycticeius humeralis

EVENING BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Status = SE
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Nycticeius [evening bats]

EveningBat_noBg.png
Moth-Outline.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3 inches (average)
Weight
= 5 - 14 grams
Wingspan
= 10 - 11 inches
Lifespan
= 2 years (average)
Fur
= dark brown
Tragus
= short & rounded
Calcar
= no keel
Other
= black ears; only 2 upper incisors; strong odor

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
Summer
= trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark; leaf litter); buildings
Winter
= migrates south
Size
= small to large groups
This species will use a bat house.

 

Lasiurus cinereus

HOARY BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Status = SC
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Lasiurus [hairy-tailed bats]

HoaryBat_noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 5 - 6 inches
Weight
= 20 - 35 grams
Wingspan
= 17 inches (average)
Lifespan
= 2 years (average)
Fur
= marbled (orange, yellow, brown) with heavy frosted tips
Tragus
= short, blunt, & curved
Calcar
= keeled
​Other
= completely furred; very large bat

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
Summer
= trees (foliage; loose bark; leaf litter)
Winter
= migrates south
Size
= solitary, or with young

 

Lasiurus borealis

EASTERN RED BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Status = SC
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Lasiurus [hairy-tailed bats]

EasternRedBat_noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3½ - 4½ inches
Weight
= 8 - 16 grams
Wingspan
= 13 inches (average)
Lifespan
= up to 8 years
Fur
= bright orange/brown/red; frosted white tips (females)
Tragus = short, blunt, & curved
Calcar
= keeled
​Other
= completely furred

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
Summer
= trees (foliage; loose bark; leaf litter)
Winter
= migrates south
Size
= solitary, or with young

 

Corynorhinus rafinesquii

RAFINESQUE'S BIG-EARED BAT

[EXTIRPATED] Species last recorded in Indiana in 1962; was found in Delaware County / ECI

Status = SC
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Corynorhinus [North American big-eared bats]

RafinesquesBigearedBat-noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 4 inches (average)
Weight
= 8 - 14 grams
Wingspan
= 10 - 12 inches
Lifespan
= up to 10 years
Fur
= brownish-gray; dull
Tragus
= broad, long, & pointed
Calcar
= keeled
​Other
= huge ears; long toe hairs; large nose glands

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= trees (hollow; cavities/crevices)
Winter
= caves & mines; abandoned houses
Size
= solitary, or very small groups

 

Myotis austroriparius

SOUTHEASTERN BAT

[EXTIRPATED] Species last recorded in Indiana in 1977; was found in Southern Indiana.

Status = SC
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

SoutheasternBat-noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​​Length
= 3 - 4 inches
Weight
= 5 - 12 grams
Wingspan
= 9½ - 10½ inches
Lifespan
= 4 - 8 years (average)
Fur
= gray to brown (females more orange); wooly & dull 
Tragus
= slender & pointed
Calcar
= no keel
​Other
= long toe hairs; gray to black wings

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
All 
= caves; occasionally structures (attics, barns, bridges) & trees (hollow; cavities/crevices)
Size = small to large groups; clusters