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22 December 2023 Spring Migration Behavior of Female Indiana Bats Overwintering in Arkansas
Heather N. Custer, Piper L. Roby, Thomas E. Inebnit, Matthew C. Anderson, D. Blake Sasse, Patrick R. Moore, Thomas S. Risch
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Abstract

Hibernacula used for overwintering by federally endangered Myotis sodalis (Indiana Bat) in Arkansas are well documented and biennially monitored, but little is known about this population's migration paths and summer habitat. Revealing spring migratory behaviors and maternity colony locations of female Indiana Bats informs conservation and management efforts and contributes to our understanding of the species across its range. Radio telemetry has been used to document the behaviors of many bat species and, recently, aerial-based tracking methods have increased our understanding of the migratory habits of female Indiana Bats. During the spring migration periods of 2018–2021, we used aerial- and ground-based telemetry methods to follow female Indiana Bats as they commenced migration from Arkansas caves. Bats migrated north into Missouri, east and south across Arkansas, and southwest into Oklahoma. We located and confirmed a previously unknown maternity colony and documented a southerly range expansion for the species in Arkansas. We also tracked an individual bat to Oklahoma, representing the first confirmed summer use by female Indiana Bats in Oklahoma. Bats used 9 different tree species that we categorized as staging, migration, layover, or arrival roosts. The results of this study provide valuable regional information for the southwestern periphery of the species' range and facilitates conservation and management decisions made by natural resource agencies across the state of Arkansas.

Heather N. Custer, Piper L. Roby, Thomas E. Inebnit, Matthew C. Anderson, D. Blake Sasse, Patrick R. Moore, and Thomas S. Risch "Spring Migration Behavior of Female Indiana Bats Overwintering in Arkansas," Southeastern Naturalist 22(4), 530-542, (22 December 2023). https://doi.org/10.1656/058.022.0406
Published: 22 December 2023
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