Distribution and roost site selection of eastern small-footed bats (Myotis leibii) in mountains of west-central Arkansas
The Eastern Small-footed Bat (Myotis leibii) is a rare species in eastern North America that is threatened by habitat loss and white-nose syndrome. Although rare, this species cannot be adequately evaluated for listing on the Endangered Species Act because of data deficiencies, including about its distribution and roost habitat. Our objectives were to document the distribution of Eastern Small-footed Bats and determine landscape and local characteristics that influence their probability of presence in the mountains of west-central Arkansas. Using acoustic monitoring, visual searches of rock formations, and mist-netting, we found that presence of Eastern Small-footed Bats was more likely in regions with talus slopes and nearby forest cover. These features may benefit the species by providing abundant options for roost switching, unique thermal properties, and short distances to foraging habitat.