Species Profile

Tri-colored Bat

Scientific Name: Perimyotis subflavus
Taxonomy Group: Mammals
COSEWIC Range: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2013
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: A2abe+3be+4abe
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This bat is one of the smallest bats in eastern North America.  Approximately 10% of its global range is in Canada, and it is considered rare in much of its Canadian range. Declines of more than 75% have occurred in the known hibernating populations in Québec and New Brunswick due to White-nose Syndrome. This fungal disease, caused by an invasive pathogen, was first detected in Canada in 2010, and has caused similar declines in Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.  Most of the Canadian range of the species overlaps with the current White-nose Syndrome range, and further declines are expected as more hibernacula continue to become infected.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in an emergency assessment on February 3, 2012. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2013.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2014-11-26

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Description

This species profile is taken from the COSEWIC status report (2013) on the Little Brown Myotis, the Northern Myotis and the Tri-colored Bat. All three bat species are small (average 7.4 g), brown-pelaged, insectivorous species of the Family Vespertilionidae. Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus) likely is the most common bat species in Canada and the most familiar of the three species to the public because they often use buildings as day-roosts and forage in areas where they are visible (e.g., over lakes, aound streetlights, etc.). Northern Myotis (M. septentrionalis) are common in forests and Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) is found in variety of habitats, but is rarer than the other two. Public concern over zoonotic diseases (i.e., rabies, histoplasmosis), noise, and hygiene has resulted in periodic extermination of maternity colonies and/or elimination of their roosts. Bats are predators of insects, some of which are considered pests in the agriculture and forestry sectors, and provide an important ecological service in this regard. (Updated 2017/05/31)

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Distribution and Population

In Canada, Myotis lucifugus and M. septentrionalis occur from Newfoundland to British Columbia, and northward to near the treeline in Labrador, Northwest Territories (NT) and the Yukon. Perimyotis subflavus occurs in Nova Scotia (NS), New Brunswick (NB), Quebec, and Ontario. All three species occur in much of the eastern half of the United States (US), and M. lucifugus extends to the US west coast, including Alaska. (Updated 2017/05/31)

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Habitat

All three species overwinter in cold and humid hibernacula (caves/mines). Their specific physiological requirements limit the number of suitable sites for overwintering. In the east, large numbers (i.e., >3000 bats) of several species typically overwinter in relatively few hibernacula. In the west, there are fewer known hibernacula, and numbers appear lower per site. Females establish summer maternity colonies, often in buildings (mainly Myotis lucifugus), or large-diameter trees. Foraging occurs over water (mainly M. lucifugus, P. subflavus), along waterways, forest edges, and in gaps in the forest (mainly M. septentrionalis). Large open fields or clearcuts generally are avoided. In autumn, bats return to hibernacula, which may be hundreds of kilometres from their summering areas, swarm near the entrance, mate, and then enter that hibernaculum, or travel to different hibernacula to overwinter. (Updated 2017/05/31)

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Biology

Breeding is promiscuous. Females produce one pup (potentially two in Perimyotis subflavus) after one year of age. Maximum recorded longevity is 15 years (P. subflavus) to >30 years (Myotis lucifugus). Survivorship is low in year one, then highly variable (e.g., 0.6-0.9) afterwards. Generation time is estimated as 5-10 years for M. lucifugus and M. septentrionalis, and 5-7 years for P. subflavus. Finite population growth rate is slow, with a range of 0.98-1.2. (Updated 2017/05/31)

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Threats

Other threats besides WNS include colony eradication, chemical contamination, change in forest structure, and wind turbines. Although cases of colony eradication have been documented (mainly chemical or physical destruction of maternity colonies of Myotis lucifugus in buildings), the overall number of colonies exterminated, or impacts on the larger-scale population is unknown. The extent of disturbance by people on hibernating bats and the impacts of chemical contamination on bats, or insecticide on prey availability, are unknown. To date, the impact of wind turbines is highly variable among sites, but generally they have been less of a mortality factor on the three species than on other bat species that conduct long-distance migration. There is potential concern for M. lucifugus in some regions of Canada where higher mortality has been recorded. (Updated 2017/05/31)

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Tri-coloured Bat is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis), and Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

23 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Little Brown Myotis Myotis lucifugus Northern Myotis Myotis septentrionalis Tri-colored Bat Perimyotis subflavus in Canada (2014-10-15)

    All three bat species are small (average 7.4 g), brown-pelaged, insectivorous species of the Family Vespertilionidae. Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus) likely is the most common bat species in Canada and the most familiar of the three species to the public because they often use buildings as day-roosts and forage in areas where they are visible (e.g., over lakes, aound streetlights, etc.). Northern Myotis (M. septentrionalis) are common in forests and Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) is found in variety of habitats, but is rarer than the other two. Public concern over zoonotic diseases (i.e., rabies, histoplasmosis), noise, and hygiene has resulted in periodic extermination of maternity colonies and/or elimination of their roosts. Bats are predators of insects, some of which are considered pests in the agriculture and forestry sectors, and provide an important ecological service in this regard.
  • Technical Summary and Supporting Information for an Emergency Assessment of the Tri-colored Bat Perimyotis subflavus (2012-02-27)

    Between 5.7 and 6.7 million bats, of several species, but mainly Little Brown Myotis, are estimated to have died in the last 6 years in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Tri-colored Bats are relatively rare in Canada and the response to White-nose Syndrome (WNS) by Little Brown Myotis is used as a surrogate for the response by Tri-colored Bat when information on Tri-colored is lacking. Mortality associated with White-nose Syndrome (WNS), caused by a fungus likely from Europe, has reduced populations of Little Brown Myotis by >75% in infected hibernacula, and this species has been modelled to be functionally extirpated (et al. 2010). There is strong evidence that the same result will occur in the Canadian population of Tri-colored Bat; significant declines and mortality events were recorded in Canada in 2011 and susceptibility to WNS is expected to be similar across most of Canada.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Tri-colored Bat (2015-01-13)

    This bat is one of the smallest bats in eastern North America.  Approximately 10% of its global range is in Canada, and it is considered rare in much of its Canadian range. Declines of more than 75% have occurred in the known hibernating populations in Québec and New Brunswick due to White-nose Syndrome. This fungal disease, caused by an invasive pathogen, was first detected in Canada in 2010, and has caused similar declines in Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.  Most of the Canadian range of the species overlaps with the current White-nose Syndrome range, and further declines are expected as more hibernacula continue to become infected.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis), and the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) in Canada (2018-12-21)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister under SARA for the Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis, and Tri-colored Bat and has prepared this recovery strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the territories of Yukon and Northwest Territories, and the Sahtu Renewable Resources Board, and Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources Board, as per section 39(1) of SARA. An incorrect version of this document was published on the Species at Risk Public Registry on December 21, 2018 and removed on November 7, 2019. This document replaces that version.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada (2017-02-07)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site (KNP and NHS), including Kejimkujik National Park Seaside. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur within these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at KNP and NHS.
  • Multi-species Action Plan for La Mauricie National Park and National Historic Sites of La Mauricie and Western Quebec regions (2020-10-06)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for La Mauricie National Park and Canada's national historic sites (NHS) that are part of the Mauricie and Western Quebec Field Unit (MWQFU) applies to the land and waters within the boundaries of La Mauricie National Park (LMNP) and 13 NHSs in Quebec: Obadjiwan–Fort Témiscamingue; Forges-du-Saint-Maurice; Fort Chambly; Fort Lennox; Battle of the Châteauguay; Coteau-du-Lac; Carillon Barracks; Manoir Papineau; Louis-Joseph Papineau; Louis S. St-Laurent; Fur Trade at Lachine National Historic Site; Sir Wilfrid Laurier; and Sir George-Étienne Cartier. This plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA; section 47) for species requiring an action plan that regularly occur on these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur in LMNP and on associated NHSs.
  • Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (2016-07-05)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of the two sites: Point Pelee National Park of Canada (PPNP) and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (NNHS). The NNHS is being used as a term to collectively refer to two locations in the Niagara region that consist of three National Historic Sites: Fort George National Historic Site, Battlefield of Fort George National Historic Site, and Butler’s Barracks National Historic Sites of Canada. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at PPNP and at NNHS.
  • Multi-species Action Plan for Rouge National Urban Park of Canada (2021-03-31)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Rouge National Urban Park of Canada applies to all federally owned lands and waters managed by Parks Canada in Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP), including Bead Hill National Historic Site. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the province of Ontario, the Rouge National Urban Park First Nations Advisory Circle, and environmental non-government organizations as per section 48(1) of SARA. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur at this site. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at RNUP. In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the 60-day public comment period on the proposed Multi-species Action Plan for Rouge National Urban Park of Canada has been extended to 90 days to provide sufficient time for feedback.

Orders

  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 148, number 26, December 17, 2014) (2014-12-17)

    Whereas the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsection 29(1) of the Species at Risk Act, is of the opinion that there is an imminent threat to the survival of the species specified in the annexed Order; Therefore, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Act, makes the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act. Bats and white-nose syndrome

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2011-2012 (2012-10-05)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (September 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) from November 21 to 25, 2011 and from April 29 to May 4, 2012. On February 3, 2012, an Emergency Assessment Subcommittee of COSEWIC also assessed the status of the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus), the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), and the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). During the current reporting period COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 67 wildlife species. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2011-2012 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 1 Extirpated: 4 Endangered: 29 Threatened: 10 Special Concern: 15 Data Deficient: 2 Not at Risk: 6 Total: 67 Of the 67 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 49 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment (see Table 1a).
  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2013-2014 (2014-10-15)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to "assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species". COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2013 to September, 2014) from November 24 to November 29, 2013 and from April 27 to May 2, 2014. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 0 Endangered: 23 Threatened: 12 Special Concern: 20 Data Deficient: 0 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 56 Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 25 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#KNP-2019-32363), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2019-06-01)

    The intent of this project is to understand the habitat requirements and behavioural ecology of the three endangered bat species. There will be a focus on Tri-colored Bats, but Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis will likely also be part of project. Bats will be captured using mist nets on suitable weather evenings from June until August 2019. Bats will be handled to obtain species identification, sex and age (juvenile/adult), and potentially pit tagged and/or fitted with a radio transmitter. Radio-tracking would be limited to a maximum of 15 mature female bats who meet mass requirements (radios less than 5% of total body weight). Radio-tagged bats will be tracked daily until the radio falls off (typically 4-20 days). A non-invasive tissue and hair sample will be obtained and archived for genetic analysis. These samples will not impact the health of the bat (Pollock et al 2016). Tissue samples will provide information on relatedness, movements, population structure and diet, while hair samples will provide information on contaminant analysis (e.g. mercury) and diet (via stable isotopes).
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#PANP-001219), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2017-02-01)

    Kapasiwin LP is proposing to construct a new, year-round bungalow camp at the existing resort site in Prince Albert National Park, including the demolition and/or removal of existing buildings at the site and replacement of these structures with new buildings. The project will include activities associated with site preparation and construction, restoration and rehabilitation of the surrounding environment post-construction, and operation of the bungalow resort. The various components of the project will be undertaken in four phases over a period of up to ten years. During redevelopment of the resort, Kapasiwin will continue to operate during the summer season between the months of May and October. It is anticipated that project activities would commence during the fall of 2017. The removal of the current buildings will involve the destruction of known maternity roosting sites, considered residences for the little brown myotis. The destruction of residences is prohibited under s.33 of the Species at Risk Act.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#PEINP-2019-32399), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-05-25)

    The proposed activity will attempt to capture bats using mist nets during evening feeding behaviour. Bats will be handled to obtain species identification, gender and maturity level. A non-invasive tissue sample will be obtained and archived for genetic analysis. Up to 20 bats will be fitted with a radio transmitter before being released at the site of capture. The transmitter will fall off automatically. Each bat with a transmitter will be tracked to its day-roost location for the lifetime of the transmitter.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#TSW-2019-03), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-02-18)

    This project involves the demolition and re-construction of dam #38 along the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site. Activities include clearing for the laydown area and the access road, access to riparian zones immediately upstream and downstream of the dam. The land will be cleared and used for one to two seasons. This project will incidentally harm individuals of Eastern Whip-poor-will through temporary habitat destruction, incidentally destroy bat roosts (residences) and incidentally harm or kill Butternut individuals.

Factsheet

  • Bat and Cave/Karst Researchers and the Emergency Listing Order (2014-12-17)

    The Government of Canada has added three species of bats to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk in Canada (also known as Schedule I of the Species at Risk Act). These three bats species - the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) - have been listed as Endangered, as their survival is imminently threatened by a deadly and highly contagious disease.
  • Bats in Buildings and the Emergency Listing Order (2014-12-17)

    The Government of Canada has added three species of bats to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk in Canada (also known as Schedule I of the Species at Risk Act). These three bats species - the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) - have been listed as Endangered, as their survival is imminently threatened by a deadly and highly contagious disease.
  • Caving Tourism and the Emergency Listing Order (2014-12-17)

    The Government of Canada has added three species of bats to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk in Canada (also known as Schedule I of the Species at Risk Act). These three bats species - the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) - have been listed as Endangered, as their survival is imminently threatened by a deadly and highly contagious disease.
  • Factsheet on the Emergency Listing Order for the Little Brown Myotis, the Northern Myotis and the Tri-colored Bat (2014-12-17)

    The Government of Canada has added three species of bats to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk in Canada (also known as Schedule I of the Species at Risk Act). These three bats species - the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) - have been listed as Endangered, as their survival is imminently threatened by a deadly and highly contagious disease.
  • Mining and the Emergency Listing Order (2014-12-17)

    The Government of Canada has added three species of bats to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk in Canada (also known as Schedule I of the Species at Risk Act). These three bats species - the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) - have been listed as Endangered, as their survival is imminently threatened by a deadly and highly contagious disease.
  • Wind Energy and the Emergency Listing Order (2014-12-17)

    The Government of Canada has added three species of bats to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk in Canada (also known as Schedule I of the Species at Risk Act). These three bats species - the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) - have been listed as Endangered, as their survival is imminently threatened by a deadly and highly contagious disease.

Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette

  • Description of critical habitat of Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis, and Tri-colored Bat in Several National Parks of Canada (2019-01-12)

    Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis), and Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) are insectivorous bats listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. The Canadian distribution of Little Brown Myotis includes the boreal forest south of the treeline through to the border of the United States of America. The Canadian distribution of Northern Myotis includes the boreal forest south of the treeline and into the montane forests of the west and deciduous and mixedwood forests of the east. Northern Myotis is mostly absent from the Canadian Prairies. The Canadian range of Tri-colored Bat encompasses mainland Nova Scotia, southern New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. The habitat requirements of temperate-region bats such as these vary by season. In general, the habitat needs of these species include overwintering, summering and swarming habitat.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update September 1, 2019
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