It’s been quite a while since a new bat species has been found in Minnesota.
How long? Try more than a century.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says a new species of bat for the state was caught in early July at the Minnesota Army National Guard’s Training Site in Arden Hills.
The species? The evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis).
“It’s very exciting to discover a new bat species in the state,” says DNR endangered species coordinator Rich Baker. “The evening bat’s historic range extends as far north as central Iowa. As our project proceeds, we’ll be keeping an eye out for more evening bats. For now, we don’t know if this was an isolated individual blown north in a storm, or if this species has indeed expanded its range into Minnesota.”
DNR researchers were at the training site conducting a survey. The survey was part of a three-year project to study Minnesota forest bats’ summer breeding habits.
When researchers caught the animals, they knew it wasn’t a bat species that had been discovered in the state before.
A national bat genetics lab in Arizona confirmed the animal caught by researchers was an evening bat.
The DNR says it’s rare to find new species of mammals in the state. The last confirmed new mammal species was a shrew, discovered in 1991.