Journal of Bat Research & Conservation 14

CARTA DE OPINIÓN: Mortalidad masiva de murciélagos en parques eólicos de España

Comisión sobre murciélagos y parques eólicos

La adopción de actuaciones decididamente encaminadas a paliar y no agravar aún más las consecuencias del cambio climático en el que ya estamos inmersos es ineludible. En este sentido el posicionamiento de la SECEMU en relación con la necesidad de promover, desarrollar y optimizar sistemas de aprovechamiento energético sin emisiones asociadas es muy claro y absolutamente favorable. Sin embargo, los sistemas han de ser respetuosos con el medio ambiente que les rodea si pretenden ostentar el calificativo de “energía limpia”. Y no se puede olvidar que la producción energética no es un servicio público, sino un negocio que mueve inversiones mil millonarias (se prevén en España entre 80 y 100 mil millones de euros en los próximos años, según la Asociación de Empresas de Energías Renovables – EFE 2018) y genera importantes beneficios.

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Observations and comments on demographic features of the Mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus euryale Blasius, 1853)

Inazio Garin, Joxerra Aihartza, Urtzi Goiti

Abstract: Lifespan is a fundamental demographic parameter that we can seldom measure in animals with elusive behaviour like bats. Even more useful parameters for modelling the life history are survival or reproduction by age and sex. However, in practice there are substantial obstacles to achieve information of that kind and, regretfully, we often rely on longevity records. This paper provides new records on long-lived Rhinolophus euryale individuals, including one female more than 25 years old. We also discuss the evidentiary support for the widely accepted age at first reproduction in that species..

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Understanding global patterns of insectivorous bat dietary research

Chalermchai Taweesub, Krizler Cejuela Tanalgo, Tuanjit Sritongchuay, Alice Catherine Hughes

Abstract: Studies focusing on the diet of insectivorous bats enhances our understanding of species foraging ecology, and the various ecosystem services provided by bats (especially regulating and suppressing pest populations). This service provides an important insight on their roles in ecosystems, and decreases crop damage as well as increasing productivity, reducing pesticide application, and as significant source of energy for cave ecosystems. This study aimed to understand patterns and provide an overview of how bat diet research has changed over seven decades, to enable more effective future research on conservation and bat pest-control related services. In this study, we reviewed and synthesized the insectivorous bat diet literature and the research which reported the dietary composition that published between 1950 and 2020 to evaluate trends and changes in research. We found studies on 374 species (33.3% of insectivorous species), and a progressive increase in research during over seven decades across all nine regions. The majority of publications were concentrated in North America (116 publications) with fewer studies in countries from the tropics. Most studies took place in natural areas (252 studies) with fewer in buildings and agroecosystems. All insectivorous-bats families were included in diet research, with Vespertilionidae having the greatest coverage (275 studies). Our synthesis highlights clear spatial and taxonomic biases in research. Future studies should focus on all and include more research in agroecosystems and urban areas to understand their roles in ecosystems as well as promote bat conservation.

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Eclipsed: Emergence-return activity of two pteropodid bat species during lunar eclipse

Baheerathan Murugavel, Almut Kelber, Hema Somanathan

Abstract: Lunar eclipses are known to influence flight activity of tropical bats at foraging sites. However, little is known about the onset and offset of flight activity from the roost during lunar eclipses compared to other full moon nights. Emergence from and return to the roost were observed during a total lunar eclipse at a colony of the fruit bat Rousettus leschenaultii and during a partial lunar eclipse at a Pteropus giganteus colony in southern India. In addition, on the same partial eclipse night, a single male P. giganteus was tracked using GPS telemetry. Flight activity in both species was compared between the eclipse night and other full moon nights. In both cases, bats emerged before the eclipse and fewer R. leschenaultii individuals returned to the roost during the hours of the total eclipse, compared to the corresponding hours during other full moon nights. No such difference in return activity was observed in the P. giganteus colony or in the GPS tracked individual between the partial eclipse and other nights. This is the first attempt to study temporal flight activity of bats during lunar eclipses at their roosting sites. More roosting site observations, especially on species that roost in the open, are required to understand the effects of lunar eclipses on bat activity.

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El murciélago de Nathusius Pipistrellus nathusii (Keyserling & Blasius, 1839), confirmado como especie residente en Cantabria

Raúl Molleda García, Isidoro Fombellida Díez, Sara Moreno Agudo, Javier Aizcorbe Garay, Álvaro González Cuevas, Susana Iriondo Cifrián, Miguel Óscar García Fernández, Máximo Sánchez Cobon

Resumen: Considerado durante siete décadas extinto en la Península ibérica, en los años 90 del pasado siglo resultó probado que Pipistrellus nathusii es una especie invernante en las costas cantábrica y mediterránea y en diversos puntos del norte de la península ibérica; en la actualidad se considera residente en la península, tras haberse descubierto una población estival en Cataluña compuesta por machos que habitan en el Delta del Ebro. Los datos que se exponen en el presente artículo suponen información novedosa sobre la presencia del murciélago de Nathusius durante el periodo estival en varios puntos de la comunidad autónoma de Cantabria (norte de la península ibérica). De enero a octubre del año 2018 se llevó a cabo una prospección mediante detectores de ultrasonidos para tratar de confirmar la presencia de P. nathusii en Cantabria, y en su caso, capturar ejemplares para obtener datos adicionales sobre la ecología de la especie. Hemos confirmado la presencia en Cantabria del murciélago de Nathusius mediante el registro de sus llamadas sociales, lo que supone un criterio inequívoco para validar sus citas por métodos acústicos. Se aportan además citas basadas en capturas en red y validadas mediante análisis genético. La especie está presente de forma continua a lo largo del año, tanto en el periodo de invernada como en el periodo estival, asentada en varias cuencas fluviales de las vertientes norte y sur. Dicha población marca el extremo sudoccidental del área de distribución de la especie durante el periodo estival. Los ejemplares encontrados en la vertiente sur constituyen la colonia estival encontrada a mayor altitud.

Abstract: Considered extinct in the Iberian Peninsula for seven decades, Pipistrellus nathusii was proven in the 1980s to dwell the Cantabrian and Mediterranean coasts as well as various parts of the Northern Iberian Peninsula during winter. Currently, it is considered a resident of the Peninsula after discovering a summer only-male population in the Ebro Delta (Catalonia). From January to October 2018, we surveyed the species‘ distribution in Cantabria using ultrasound detectors and, where appropriate, the capture of specimens in mist nets. The species identification on sound recordings was confirmed by social calls, following widely accepted scientific criteria. DNA analysis of wing tissue samples from captured individuals was used for taxonomic identification. We confirm the presence in Cantabria of Pipistrellus nathusii throughout the year, both in winter and in summer, the latter settled in several river basins on the northern and southern slopes. This population marks the extreme southwest locality of the range of the species during the summer period. The specimens found on the southern slope represent the highest altitude of a summer colony so far.

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Towards a regional call library: Classifying calls of a species-rich bat assemblage in a Bornean karst rainforest

Ellen McArthur, Faisal Ali Anwarali Khan

Abstract: Acoustic monitoring with ultrasonic detectors has emerged, in recent years, as an essential tool to quantify the activity of echolocating, insectivorous bats and identifycritical commuting and foraging habitats.  Comprehensive reference call libraries are critical for the identification of species from their calls. This is especially important in species diverse areas like Gunung Mulu National Park (Sarawak). This study aims to (1) develop a call library for all known echolocating bat species found in Gunung Mulu National Park, (2) determine if calls of different species can be automatically classified using discriminant function analysis, and (3) examine intraspecific variation in relation to sex and geographical location, for calls in species of the families Rhinolophidae and Hipposideridae. Between 2012 and 2017, insectivorous bats were trapped within and outside the park. Echolocation calls were recorded from a total of 508 individuals, representing 31 species from 8 families. Results from discriminant function analysis indicated that the majority of cave roosting bats, which included Chaerephon plicatus, Miniopterus australis, Myotis horsfieldii and 13 species from the families Rhinolophidae, Hipposideridae, and Emballonuridae, could be readily distinguished from their calls, when manually separated into groups according to call structure. However, classification success was much lower for the remaining 15 species that consisted mainly of forest roosting bats from the family Vespertilionidae. This reference call library is expected to contribute to a regional online open-access database. It can be used to survey and monitor selected species in Gunung Mulu National Park as well as highlighting the importance of threatened habitats outside the boundary for these species.

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Filling gaps on the distribution of Amazonian bats, new records of four poorly sampled species: Trinycteris nicefori Sanborn, 1949, Lionycteris spurrelli Thomas, 1913, Macrophyllum macrophyllum (Schinz, 1821), and Dasypterus ega (Gervais, 1856)

Gerson Paulino Lopes, João Valsecchi, Paulo Eduardo Brandão, Tamily Carvalho Melo dos Santos

Abstract: Bats are the second most diverse mammalian order worldwide. In the Neotropics, Brazil has one of the greatest bat richness, but species records are still very heterogeneously distributed, especially in Amazonia. Although this biome harbours 76% of Brazil’s bat fauna, basic knowledge on the distribution of Amazonian bats is far from well known, with intensive surveys at only a few sites and many areas without any records. The reduction of those gaps will improve the understanding of the bats’ distribution, with implications for management and conservation. Here we review the distribution of Trinycteris nicefori, Lionycteris spurrelli, Macrophyllum macrophyllum, and Dasypterus ega in the Brazilian Amazonia, presenting several new records for the region based both on literature review and on our own unpublished data. Our study contributes to the knowledge of the geographic distribution of these species, and the new records presented here help fill a gap in the distribution of bats in the western Brazilian Amazonia.

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Albinism in Carollia perspicillata (Chiroptera; Phyllostomidae) in Southeastern Brazil: a long-term observational study in the field

Rafael de Souza Laurindo, Andrea Cecília Sicotti Maas, Adriana Ruckert da Rosa, Irineu Norberto Cunha, João Paulo de Souza da Rosa, Luzia Helena Queiroz, Marilene Fernandes de Almeida

Abstract: Complete albinism is a phenomenon that rarely occurs in bats. True albinism has been reported in 152 individuals from sixty-seven bat species in 40 countries. The purpose of this paper was to report two cases of true albinism in bats of the species Carollia perspicillata and the observation of one of these specimens in the field for thirteen months in an artificial shelter in Minas Gerais state, Southeastern Brazil. The animals were apparently well-integrated into the group, healthy, and had a normal size for the species and compared to other individuals in the colony.

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Bat conservation and ecotourism: the case of two abandoned tunnels in Salamanca, Western Iberia

Natalia Revilla-Martín, Pedro Alonso-Alonso, Jorge Sereno-Cadierno, César Llanos-Guerrero, Luis Hernández-Tabernero, Miguel Lizana-Avias

Abstract: Underground roosts play a key role in the conservation of cave-dwelling bats. In regions where natural roosts are scarce, human-made artificial roosts can host important populations of these species. The roosts studied in the present work are two railway tunnels abandoned in 1984 that have become one of the biggest cavedwelling bats roosts in the region. Several thousands of roosting bats were reported during summer in the 1990s, and more recently, in the mid-2010s, large groups of hibernating bats and maternity colonies were found in them (Lizana-Ciudad 2015, Hernández-Tabernero et al. 2016). Now, as a measure for local economic development, a hiking route following the railroad has been habilitated and it could threaten bat colonies if many visitors enter into the tunnels. In this work, we present the data of monthly monitoring carried out during 2018 and we propose conservation measures that would allow the coexistence of the touristic hiking route and the remarkable colonies of cave-dwelling bats that the tunnels host. This monitoring shows that the occupation of the roosts is very dynamic, with different species occupying each of them in different seasons. Overall, the longest tunnel is mainly a winter hibernaculum, while the shorter one is used as a breeding roost which hosts large colonies of bats. The most abundant species in the studied roosts were Miniopterus schreibersii, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Myotis myotis, and Myotis blythii. These roosts seem to be part of a large transnational network of underground roosts that are well known on the Portuguese side with very limited knowledge on the Spanish side. We hope by implementing simple measures, these roosts can be preserved whilst still maintaining the hiking route for visitor enjoyment and promoting the economic development of the area.

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Influence of bat house design on hibernating bats – a case study in Herefordshire (UK)

Nick C. Downs, David Wells

Abstract: In England, bats and their roosts are protected by national legislation. To permit development actions that would otherwise result in an offence relating to bats, it is first necessary to obtain a protected species mitigation licence containing protective measures. Due to the complexity of the topic, combined with the fact that monitoring is often limited, it can be difficult for practitioners to be certain of real conservation benefits of these measures. To build a new access road near Hereford (UK), a former artillery magazine (confirmed bat roost) building was demolished. Therefore, a legally binding English Nature/Natural England European Protected Species (EPS) Development Licence was obtained (2005). This licence stipulated mitigation and compensation measures to ensure the works could be carried out without harming bats and ensuring their favourable conservation status was maintained. Roost compensation measures were applied to two identical retained buildings. These included blocking doorways, provision of bat access grilles/internal roosting crevices, diverting downpipes inside, and installing straw matting (approx. 5cm deep, within one building only). The latter two measures were designed to increase internal humidity levels. Pre-compensation monitoring recorded two hibernating common pipistrelles in addition to lesser horseshoe and brown long-eared bat droppings. Post-compensation monitoring (2006-2016) recorded a minimum of three brown long-eared bats, three lesser horseshoe bats, one common pipistrelle and one barbastelle, suggesting the compensation methods may have increased both the numbers of species, and individual bats. These increases were small, hence not conclusive. Notably, during the post-compensation hibernation monitoring, brown long-eared bats were found in areas with lower humidity levels (48.6-78.8%) than lesser horseshoe bats (67.8-93.5%). The magazine containing straw matting had winter humidity levels approximately 20% higher than the other and supported a higher number of hibernating lesser horseshoe bats, but a lower number of hibernating brown long-eared bats. Within both buildings, all hibernating brown long-eared bats were found behind chipboard (approx. 70cm x 150cm) attached to wooden battens approx. 2cm from the internal walls rather than wooden or sawdust/ cement composite bat boxes.

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New species records from Buton Island, South East Sulawesi, including regional range extensions

Melissa Donnelly, Thomas E. Martin, Olivia Cropper, Ellena Yusti, Arthur Arfian, Rachael Smethurst, Catherine Fox, Moira Pryde, Hafirun, Josh Phangurha, Rianne N. van der Aar, Amy Hutchison, Ady Karya, Kangkuso Analuddin, Samsudin, Stephanie K. Courtney Jones

Abstract: Peninsular Malaysia is currently thought to host the highest biodiversity of Old World bats of any region, with 110 species recorded. However, the availability of literature to facilitate a similarly thorough species ‘checklist’ is not as readily available for other parts of Southeast Asia, including Sulawesi, Indonesia. Here we highlight 13 new species records from the long-term bat monitoring programme on Buton Island, South East Sulawesi, expanding on Patterson et al.’s (2017) previous inventory for this study area. One species (Hipposideros galeritus) is a new record for Sulawesi, and seven species (Cynopterus c.f. minutus, Rousettus celebensis, Megaderma spasma, Hipposideros c.f. ater, Myotis c.f. horsfieldii, Myotis c.f. moluccarum, and Myotis c.f. muricola) are new records for Buton Island. The remaining five species (Thoopterus nigrescens, Dobsonia exoleta, Acerodon celebensis, Mosia nigrescens, and Mops sarasinorum) have been previously reported from Buton but were missing from the prior site inventory. We also correct a probable mistaken species identification in the previous inventory (Cynopterus cf. titthaecheilus, now identified as Thoopterus nigrescens). This brings the total of confirmed species detected on Buton to 35, equating to 46.7% of all Sulawesi’s known bat diversity in c. 3% of its land area. We highlight Buton as a key area for conserving the region’s bat species.

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Karyotype of Myotis lavali (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae)

Brunna Almeida, Roberto Leonan M. Novaes, Ricardo Moratelli, Júlia Lins Luz, Luciana M. Costa, Carlos Eduardo Lustosa Esbérard, Lena Geise

Abstract: Myotis lavali is an insectivorous bat that occurs along the South American Dry Diagonal, extending from the Brazilian Caatinga southward to Paraguayan Alto Chaco. This species was described recently and there is little information about its biology. Herein, we describe the conventional karyotype from three males captured in an arboreal savanna from Vale do Jequitinhonha, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The diploid number (2n) and the fundamental number of autosomes (FNa) were 44 and 50, respectively. Its karyotype, in Giemsa staining, is similar to others described for Neotropical Myotis, and it is not useful to identify specimens.

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First report of intraspecific variation in wing translucency for a Neotropical bat species

Hernani F. M. Oliveira, Sandra L. Peters, Russell J. Gray, Roberto Leonan M. Novaes

Abstract: Although most variation regarding bat colouration has been recorded for fur, there have also been a few bat species for which intraspecific variation in wing translucency has been reported. However, all records are from the Paleotropics, with no cases reported for any bat species in the Neotropics. Here we describe the first case of intraspecific variation in wing translucency for a Neotropical bat species, the lesser ghost bat (Diclidurus scutatus). Two individuals captured hundreds of kilometres away from each other in the Brazilian Amazon forest showed distinct patterns in relation to the degree of their wing translucency. While one individual in the Northeastern Amazon forest had fully translucent wings, the other in the Southern Amazon had whitish opaque wings. We propose three hypotheses to explain this variation, which are related to differences in: (1) light conditions and camouflage in the roost; (2) thermoregulation requirements; and (3) habitat structure relationship with hunting success.

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A scale for quantifying behavior based on aggressiveness in bats

Julie Teresa Shapiro, Richard A. Stanton Jr., Robert A. McCleery, Ara Monadjem

Abstract: Behavior and personality play a crucial role in the evolution and ecology of animal species. We have limited knowledge of bat personality traits, partially due to the time, equipment, and facilities needed to measure them. To help fill this gap, we developed a scale for quantifying aggressiveness in bats that can be used during ordinary fieldwork and handling by researchers. This scale is based on observations of the following ecologically relevant and easily observed behaviors in wild-captured bats during routine handling: amount and intensity of physical struggling, teethbaring, and biting. We then applied this scale to 35 wild-caught individual bats belonging to three different species or species groups (Chaerephon pumilus, n=29; Scotophilus dinganii, n=3; and pipistrelloid bats, n=3) and measured agreement between observers using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). We found that agreement between observers was good to excellent. This scale of aggressiveness provides an important, practical tool for researchers to reliably quantify this personality trait in wild bats that requires no additional equipment and minimal additional handling time. Collecting data on aggressive behavior during handling has the potential to increase our understanding of both intra- and interspecific variation in aggressiveness in bats, as well as the influence of this trait on many aspects of bat ecology. Finally, collecting data using this scale can facilitate comparisons between studies and promote research at broader spatial and temporal scales than commonly used in behavioral ecology studies.

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Opportunistic predation events of bats entangled in mist nets by margay Leopardus wiedii (Schinz, 1821) in northwest Honduras: recommendations to avoid preventable casualties

Zeltia López Gallego, Pamela Medina-van Berkum, Thomas Edward Martin

Abstract: Predation of entangled bats captured in mist-nets is common but infrequently documented. As such, this welfare issue is often not considered when mist-netting surveys are being designed. Margays (Leopardus wiedii) are small neotropical cats that are known to have a varied diet and exhibit opportunistic hunting behaviour. Despite bats not having been frequently reported as a prey item for margays, studies on this felid’s feeding ecology remain scarce. We discuss the potential for margays to feed on bats when they become entangled in mist nets, providing two examples from Cusuco National Park, Honduras. In light of this, we provide recommendations as to how such opportunistic predation events can be mitigated in future surveys.

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