Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Scott Pedersen


From May 2000 to August 2002 a study was conducted to document the distribution, roost site selection, and food habits of bats in South Dakota east of the Missouri River. During the summers of 2000, 2001, and 2002, mist netting and acoustic sampling (Anabat system) censuses were conducted at 36 different sites, including state parks (S.P.), state recreation areas (R.A.), and national wildlife refuges (N.W.R.). Seven species of bat were discovered inhabiting eastern South Dakota: Myotis septentrionalis, Myotis lucifugus (subspecies lucifugus and carissima), Myotis ciliolabrum, Eptesicus fuscus (subspecies fuscus and pallidus), La.siurus borealis, La.siurus cinereus, and Lasionycteris noctivagans. Of 52 bats captured in 2000 and 2001, the percent composition of the total population was: Myotis lucifugus 35%, Eptesicusfuscus 27%, La.siurus borealis 21 %, Myotis septentrionalis 11 %, La.siurus cinereus 4%, and La.sionycteris noctivagans 2%. Of 52 bats that were captured in 2002 along the Missouri River, the percent composition of the population was: Myotis septentrionalis 42%, Eptesicus fuscus 35%, Myotis lucifugus 15%, Lasiurus borealis 4%, and Lasionycteris noctivagans 4%. Myotis lucifugus Eptesicus fuscus, Lasionycteris noctivagans, La.siurus borealis, and Lasiurus cinereus are found throughout South Dakota east of the Missouri River. Based on my capture data and previous voucher and literature records, the distribution of Myotis septentrionalis in eastern South Dakota is restricted to gallery forests along the Missouri River. Previously, Lasionycteris noctivagans was not considered a resident of eastern South Dakota because this bat had only been captured during the migratory season (Jones and Genoways, 1967). I captured three individuals in July (two males and one female), strongly suggesting that this species is a summer resident of eastern South Dakota. Bat capture rates (BNN=bats/per net/per night) and species richness were greater within the Missouri River gallery forest than any other habitat in eastern South Dakota. Three of the five localities that had high capture rates (2.0 or greater BNN) were located along the Missouri River (Farm Island R.A., Karl Mundt N.W.R, and West Bend R.A.). The locality with the highest capture rate (2.6 BNN) and species richness (7 species) was Farm Island R.A. Distribution maps and species accounts were compiled for all six bat species using mist net and acoustic data from the summers of 2000, 2001, and 2002; and from data culled from literature records and voucher records. A radiotracking study was performed in the summer of 2002 to investigate the importance of the Missouri River gallery forest for bats in eastern South Dakota. Four species (Myotis septentrionalis, Myotis lucifugus, Eptesicus fu􀀛cus and Lasionycteris noctivagans) were radiotracked using small radio transmitters in order to follow the bats to their roost sites. Roost tree characteristics such as circumference, height, and stage of decay were documented for each species of roost tree. Circumference and height measurements were also taken for the available trees within 15 meters of the roost tree. Trees were considered "available" if the circumference was greater than 15 cm, because these younger trees are not decayed enough to provide roosting substrates for bats (Vonhof and Barclay, 1996). In this study, Myotis septentrionalis and Lasionycteris noctivagans consistently used eastern cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) as day roosts. Eptesicus fuscus day roosted in eastern cottonwoods and night roosted in bur oaks (Quercus macrocarpa) and beneath a concrete bridge. Myotis lucifugus day and night roosted in eastern cottonwoods and a picnic shelter. Myotis septentrionalis, Lasionycteris noctivagans, and Eptesicus fuscus selected larger trees for roosts (compared to the available trees), while Myotis lucifugus utilized trees of the same size as those available. Roost switching between trees and a wood picnic shelter was noted in two individual Myotis lucifugus of different reproductive classes. During the two weeks of radio tracking, a postlactating bat day roosted in a cottonwood tree and then night roosted in the shelter. At the beginning of the week of radiotracking, the nonreproductive bat day and night roosted in a cottonwood tree. Then a few days later, was tracked to the roost in the shelter until the battery on the tag died (a couple days). Dataloggers were placed inside the picnic shelter and a tree roost to compare temperature and humidity. Data from the dataloggers indicated that the shelter was warmer than the_tree roost in the evening and early morning (1800 to 0500 hours), while the tree was warmer in the afternoon (1200 to 1700 hours). The postlactating female may have been searching for a warmer roost to conserve energy. Food habits of Eptesicus fuscus in Sioux Falls, South Dakota are described. Six hundred and twenty bats were collected from the South Dakota Department of Health in 2000 and 2001. Of these 620, only 56 bats had identifiable contents in the stomach. The stomach contents were examined with a dissecting microscope and insect parts were identified by comparing the contents to a reference collection of insects collected in South Dakota (Borror and White, 1970). Four orders of insects were identified: Coleoptera (beetles), Hemiptera (true bugs), Diptera (flies) and Lepidoptera (moths). Carabidae (ground beetles) occurred at an occurrence frequency of 29.1 %, followed by unidentifiable insects (18.2% ), Lepidoptera (12.2 % ), unidentified Coleoptera (7.3% ), Pentatomidae (stinkbugs) (7.3%), Diptera (1.8%), and hairballs (5.3%).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Bats -- South Dakota -- Geographical distribution.
Bats -- Habitat -- South Dakota.
Bats -- Food -- South Dakota.


South Dakota State University



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In Copyright