Comparative ecological and behavioural studies of the widespread and diverse Vespertilionidae, which comprise almost 400 of the 1100 bat species, have been limited by the availability of markers. The potential of new methods for developing conserved microsatellite markers that possess enhanced cross-species utility has recently been illustrated in studies of birds. We have applied these methods to develop enhanced microsatellite markers for vespertilionid bats, in particular for the genus Myotis (103 species). We compared published bat microsatellites with their homologues in the genome sequence of the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus, to create consensus sequences that were used to design candidate primer sets. Primer sets were then tested for amplification and polymorphism in 22 species of bat from nine of the largest families (including 11 Vespertilionidae). Of 46 loci tested, 33 were polymorphic, on average, in each of seven Myotis species tested, 20 in each of four species in other vespertilionid genera, and two in 11 nonvespertilionid species.