Species Spotlight: Eastern small-footed Bat
Happy Halloween! To celebrate the run up to Halloween, we wanted to shine the moonlight on each of the eight bat species of Ontario. In this series of blog posts, we will have highlighted the key info for each species and provided some exclusive recordings we have collected this year in our Batacea Guelph Bat Watch project.
In this post, we will be spotlighting the eastern small-footed bat (scientific name: Myotis leibii).
The eastern small-footed bat has glossy, light brown fur make with grayish-brown underside with black wings, ears and face mask. It is about eight centimetres long, weighs 4-5 grams and has a wing span of 21 to 25 centimetres.
Range and Ecology
This species is found in eastern North America, and in Canada can be found in southeastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec. It is the rarest and least known bat species in the province of Ontario.
Eastern small-footed bats are typically found within or close to deciduous or evergreen forests. In spring and summer, they roost underneath rocks, in rock outcrops, buildings, below bridges and hollow in trees. This species is known to switch roosts daily. During winter, they use caves and mines as hibernation roots to overwinter. In Ontario, there are only 11 suitable overwintering sites in the province. This species is known to feed on a variety of flying insects including moths, flies and beetles, as well as net-winged insects, true bugs, caddisflies and mayflies.
This species is currently classified as 'Endangered' according to the IUCN Red List, with decreasing long-term population trends. Eastern small-footed bats are primarily threatened by white-nose syndrome (WNS), similar to the little brown bat, tri-colored bat and northern myotis. It is estimated that the potential impact of WNS on this species will result in a population decline of more than 96%, and could be considered as Critically Endangered (CR) in the near future.
Throughout our 2020 summer surveys, eastern small-footed bats were recorded at our two forested sites, making up 0.5% of the total number of recordings for 2020.
Spectrograms from this species begin around 85-90 kHz and end in the low forties. Calls have a smoother slop than other myotis species, lacking the distinct change in slope as seen in little brown bat spectrograms.
To listen to the eastern small-footed bat call snippet above, download the MP4 file below.
For more information on little brown bats, visit Ontario Species at Risk website or Nature Conservancy Canada websites.
To explore more eastern small-footed bat spectrograms, check out the iNaturalist Bat Spectrogram project.
Thank you for joining us this Halloween to celebrate Ontario bat species. Visit our blog page to read the seven other bat species spotlights featured in the series.