Tri-colored Bat

Perimyotis subflavus

Formerly known as the eastern pipistrelle, technically an inaccurate classification, the new more descriptive common name tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) was chosen because of the distinct tri-coloration of each hair, which is black at the base, yellow in the middle and brown at the tips. This species of bat that is widely distributed throughout the eastern parts of America and Canada, ranging west until Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, from Honduras up north until southern Ontario. It is the only member of the genus Perimyotis.

The tri-colored bat is one of the smallest bats in eastern North America. The forearms are orange to red, and the wing membrane is black. Adults weigh between 4 to 10 g and reach a forearm length of 30 to 35 mm. They are easily distinguished from other similar species by their tri-colored fur. These bats were renamed by Dr. Paul Cryan with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Tri-colored bats eat small insects. They hunt at the edges of forests, near streams or over open water and can achieve a speed of about 18 km/h. When they capture food they use the tail or wing membranes to restrain their prey. Some insects are even captured by their tail membrane. It forms a pouch and the bat bends its head in to grab the insect with its teeth. They can catch insects as much as every 2 seconds and increase their mass by 25% in only half an hour.


Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Attn: Mammal Atlas Coordinator
2001 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management