July 14, 2016, photo provided by the Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources shows an evening bat, a new bat species
state DNR researchers discovered living in the hollow of
trees in Avon Bottoms State Natural Area in Rock County,
Wis. It is the first new bat species found in Wisconsin in
MADISON — A new
bat species has been discovered in Wisconsin for the first time in
more than 60 years.
Natural Resources officials say researchers discovered the new
species, known as an evening bat, living in the hollow of trees in
Avon Bottoms State Natural Area in Rock County.
researcher Heather Kaarakka and other researchers who discovered
the bats were studying summer habitats of other species that are
vulnerable to white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease that has
killed millions of bats across the country, the Milwaukee Journal
The estimated 160
evening bats were found in two trees about five miles north of the
Wisconsin-Illinois border in June and July. They don't appear to
be harmed by white-nose syndrome.
officials say the discovery is the first new bat species found in
the state since 1954 when an Indiana bat was found. It was the
only time that species was seen, and attempts to find it in the
1980s and 1990s weren't successful.
new species of invertebrates and insects, where maybe there isn't
a lot of research going on," said Owen Boyle, natural
heritage conservation species section chief for the department.
"But for mammals and birds, the bar is higher and a new
discovery is more significant because they are much more
range as far north as Illinois, and the researchers discovered a
single juvenile male in the same area last summer.
This year, the
researchers found the first evening bat by trapping it in a mist
net. They then attached a small radio-tracking device to it and
followed the bat to a tree with other evening bats.
brings the number of bat species known to inhabit Wisconsin to
It's not clear
why the new species showed up in the area, but Boyle said that one
explanation is the void left by the death of bats susceptible to
The fungus of the
disease has killed an estimated 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats
since it was first discovered in the eastern U.S. in 2006. The
department says the bat population in Wisconsin is stable so far.