Bats in tea plantations in Sri Lanka: Species richness and distribution

Tharaka Kusuminda, Amani Mannakkara, Bruce D. Patterson, Wipula B. Yapa

Abstract: Due to the exponential growth of human population, natural forests are being steadily replaced by areas devoted to agriculture. It is estimated that forty percent of our planet’s terrestrial area is allocated to agriculture, causing devastating damage to wildlife. However, on the positive side, the diverse nature of agro-ecosystems offers opportunities for landscape-level approaches to biodiversity conservation. Furthermore, heterogeneous agroecosystems are also known to support rich biological diversity, including bats. Insectivorous bats play a significant role in suppressing insect pests in agro-ecosystems all over the world. Bat insectivory in agricultural landscapes reduces harvest losses and, indirectly, pesticide use, thereby contributing to the production of healthier foods for human consumption. Hence, it is important to understand how insectivorous bats are using different agro-ecosystems. The tea industry contributes significantly to net foreign exchange in the Sri Lankan economy. The diversity of bats exploiting six tea plantations that represent the major tea-growing regions in Sri Lanka was surveyed for one year. We recorded six families and twelve species of bats, eight of which were insectivores. Rhinolophus rouxii was the most commonly recorded species, and was recorded at higher elevations than it has been previously recorded. Similarly, Miniopterus fuliginosus was recorded at Idulgashinna (1590 m), a new maximum elevational record for the species in Sri Lanka. Roosts of seven bat species were documented in the vicinity of each plantation and we provide new breeding observations of three bat species. This study is the first to record four pteropodid bat species in a single tea plantation. This study offers a foundation for future bat studies in the understudied tropical agricultural system of tea plantations.

First record of dawn bat Eonycteris spelaea (Dobson, 1871) (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) from western Nepal

Basant Sharma, Sanjeev Baniya, Anoj Subedi, Kritagya Gyawali, Shristee Panthee, Prashant Ghimire, Bhuwan Singh Bist, Milan Budha

Abstract: This short note aims to document the first record of dawn bat Eonycteris spelaea from western Nepal. A single specimen was captured with a ground level mist net within Banpale forest of the Institute of Forestry (IoF) Pokhara on 1st April 2018. A total of five fruit bat species are now known to occur in Nepal, three of which within western Nepal. This paper presents the fourth record of E. spelaea for Nepal which is first documented occurrence for the Pokhara valley and western Nepal.

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. Bats and vampires in French Romanticism

Jens Rydell, Johan Eklöf, Marco Riccucci

Abstract: The bats´ elusive life style and unusual appearance have always stimulated peoples´ imagination, perhaps more so than any other animal. Since medieval times the church has associated bats with the Devil as well as death, darkness and the underground, and, not surprisingly, bats have obtained a given place in folklore, art and fiction. In this paper, we present a remarkable display of bats in Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (the Père Lachaise cemetery) in Paris. The bats are symbolic and occur on vaults from the Romantic period (1820-1850), a passage of European history when bats were quite popular ingredients in artwork and literature, particularly in France. Most of the bat sculptures in Père Lachaise are quite realistic and apparently without any intent to invoke fear or send evil messages. They are typically displayed on the steel gates of the tombs and symbolise death and the long night before the flight to heaven. They often occur in association with an hourglass, a winged skull and/or an ouroboros, icons of the ephemeral nature of life and the eternal cycle of life and death, respectively. We speculate that the bat symbols could also have an apotropaic function, protecting the tomb and its inhabitants from evil forces and/or bad luck. The reputation of bats in Europe has not always been as negative as it is today, and those at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise illustrate its diversity and complexity. The tombs with bats in this cemetery are exclusive and exceptional items of human cultural history and we would strongly appreciate if they would be preserved for future studies and enlightenment.

New longevity record for the Mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus euryale Blasius, 1853)

Carlos Ibáñez, Roberto Novella-Fernandez, Pedro Alonso, Pablo T. Agirre-Mendi

Abstract: Bats have an unusually long lifespan among mammals, being at the end of the slow lane in the fast-slow continuum. In this note we report the recapture of a banded male individual of Rhinolophus euryale in La Rioja (Spain) with a minimum age of 21 years, representing a new longevity record for the species. We highlight that this is a case of long term fidelity of a male to a breeding colony, and we call attention to the apparent contradiction between the greater longevity found in male bats according to maximum lifespan records, compared to the higher mean lifespan and survival estimates that females show in demographic studies.

Resumen: Los murciélagos tienen una esperanza de vida inusualmente larga entre los mamíferos, y se encuentran en el extremo lento en el “continuo rápido-lento” de las historias de vida de los mamíferos. En esta nota, informamos la recuperación de un Rhinolophus euryale macho anillado en La Rioja (España) con una edad mínima de 21 años, lo que representa un nuevo récord de longevidad para la especie. Destacamos que este es un caso de fidelidad a largo plazo de un macho a una colonia reproductora y llamamos la atención sobre la aparente contradicción entre la mayor longevidad encontrada en murciélagos machos de acuerdo con los registros de máxima duración de vida, en comparación con la mayor esperanza media de vida y estimaciones de supervivencia que muestran las hembras en los estudios demográficos.

Noteworthy predation on bats by the Common Genet (Genetta genetta) in southern France

Christian Riols, Renaud Nadal

Abstract: According to current literature, bats are barely found in Common Genet diet and their interaction poorly known. Successive collections of genet scats from 2013 to 2016 on a rocky site in Quercy (Lot, southwestern France) revealed outstanding predation on a band of bats, mainly Myotis (7 species). No fewer than 173 bats of nine species have been taken over four years: the more common species were Bechstein’s, Natterer’s and Daubenton’s Bats. This predation, which is without any known precedent in France or Europe with the possible exception of a Portuguese site, suggests the use of our sampling site as a swarming place for bats. Its specific settings and characteristics are the more reliable explanation for this phenomenon, local specialization which has probably existed for a long time. Almost all bats were taken in September-November. This and the presence of many juvenile bats (~35%) would indicate that this predation is probably related to the bat’s swarming activity.

Contribución al conocimiento de la distribución y ecología de los murciélagos (Orden Chiroptera) en Castilla y León

Roberto J. Hermida Lorenzo, Ledicia Santos Fernández, Zeltia López Gallego

Abstract: Entre los años 2011 y 2015 Drosera participó en varios proyectos con murciélagos en diferentes zonas de Castilla y León en los que se capturaron 1.071 ejemplares pertenecientes a 23 especies de murciélagos y se grabaron 15.274 archivos sonoros con vocalizaciones de murciélagos, en los que se pudo identificar de manera inequívoca 11 especies. En este manuscrito aportamos información para 24 especies. Se han obtenido las primeras citas confirmadas para algunas especies en el ámbito de estudio: Myotis cf. nattereri, Myotis escalerai y Eptesicus isabellinus. Para E. isabellinus se trata de la primera cita en Castilla y León y la localidad más septentrional en España. Para Myotis cf. nattereri y M. escalerai se aportan las primeras citas para algunas provincias. También se amplía notablemente el conocimiento de la distribución de algunas especies comunes, como Pipistrellus pygmaeus, y se ofrecen datos sobre la ecología de otras. En
general se observa un patrón de distribución según el cual las especies más típicamente forestales aparecen únicamente en el perímetro montañoso de la comunidad autónoma, pero están ausentes de las zonas llanas desarboladas que ocupan buena parte de la zona central de Castilla y León y de los exiguos bosques de ribera que atraviesan estas zonas. Las zonas montañosas, en las que el relieve complejo determina mayor diversidad de hábitats y mantiene cierta extensión y naturalidad de diferentes tipos de bosque, se han mostrado más diversas en cuanto a especies de murciélagos.

First records of wing defects in phyllostomid bats from Colombia

Dennis Castillo-Figueroa, Jairo Pérez-Torres

Abstract: Bat wings are modified forelimbs with a skin membrane that is stretched between elongated digits. The digits are composed of two structures: metacarpals and phalanges. Osteological, tail, chromatic and dental anomalies have been documented for bats, but there have been very few records of wing defects such as anomalies of the phalanges and metacarpals. In this note, we report nine cases of wing defects in Colombian bats. All belonged to the family Phyllostomidae, representing four subfamilies, six genera, and seven species (Sturnira lilium, Sturnira bogotensis, Artibeus planirostris, Uroderma bilobatum, Carollia perspicillata, Desmodus rotundus, Glossophaga soricina). Specifically, three types of wing defects were identified: accessory cartilage, broken digits and nonsymmetrical digits. The possible impacts of wing defects on flight behavior and ecology of bats are discussed. Additional data is needed to evaluate the frequency of each type of wing defect in bat populations. 

First colony of common noctule (Nyctalus noctula Schreber, 1774) in Castilla y León (Northern Spain)

Manuel Fabio Flechoso del Cueto, Daniel Fernández Alonso & Juan Tomás Alcalde Díaz de Cerio

Abstract: Up to now, only five colonies of common noctule (Nyctalus noctula) have been recorded in the Iberian peninsula. They are located very distant from each other, in Navarra (two), Zaragoza, Lleida and Madrid. In September 2016 a male was trapped in the Almazán’s La Arboleda park (Soria), on the banks of the Duero river. In September too, nine roosts used by this species were identified by detecting their male social calls, eight in white poplars (Populus alba) and one in a black poplar (Populus nigra). All of them were observed in abandoned nests of Picidae. In June 2017, 23 indviduals were observed leaving another Picidae abandoned nest in a white poplar. Using mist-nets and harp-traps, three individuals were captured, all males. The obtained data allow us to deduce the presence of a group of sedentary males in this park, which are probably accompanied by females in the fall. This is the first colony of common noctule identified in Castilla y León and the highest one (960 masl) in the Iberian peninsula. Its geographical location can be strategic, between the colonies of the North and Center of the peninsula, reason why it could include noctules from both areas during their migratory movements. Therefore, it is considered a relevant forest for this species, whose conservation is a priority.

First record of Myotis alcathoe von Helversen & Heller, 2001 (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in Macedonia

Nikola Micevski, Javier Juste, Branko Micevski

Abstract: Only recently separated from the Myotis mystacinus species complex, the Alcathoe whiskered bat (Myotis alcathoe) is one of the rarest tree-dwelling bats in Europe. In fact, despite the increased number of records across the continent, it is generally still poorly known. Here we present its discovery in Macedonia. A molecularly confirmed Myotis alcathoe was mist netted in the lower part of Štučka River Valley, near the Štuka village in SE Macedonia. The species is new for the bat fauna of Macedonia. This discovery brings the total number of bat species known to occur in the country to 29. In addition, the study reports the third record of the rare Western Barbastelle bat, Barbastella barbastellus (Schreber, 1774) from Macedonia.

Contribución al conocimiento de la distribución y estatus de la fauna quiropterológica de la Comunidad Autónoma de Cantabria

Raúl Molleda, Isidoro Fombellida

Resumen: Por primera vez se presenta una compilación extensa con información sobre la distribución de las especies de quirópteros localizadas en la Comunidad Autónoma de Cantabria (norte de España). Esta revisión se basa en datos propios con dos orígenes: tres temporadas recientes de muestreos con redes de niebla (2015-2017) complementado con análisis genético para la identificación de especies crípticas; y nuestra propia base de datos, con registros entre 1999 y 2017, obtenidos por observación directa (sobre todo en refugios), y detección ultrasónica. Los mapas de distribución se han completado con citas previamente publicadas por otros autores mencionados en el texto. Seis especies no habían sido reseñadas anteriormente en Cantabria: Myotis escalerai, Myotis cf nattereri, Myotis alcathoe, Pipistrellus pygmaeus, Nyctalus lasiopterus y Nyctalus noctula. Otras dos solo lo habían sido en base a escasos restos óseos y una observación que se consideran dudosos: Myotis bechsteinii y Myotis mystacinus. Para muchos otros taxones, los datos publicados anteriormente fueron muy escasos. Además se ha identificado la subespecie Plecotus auritus begognae como presente en toda la región. Las especies localizadas ascienden a 25, de las que 16 muestran una distribución amplia, y las restantes restringida o poco conocida aún. Estos muestreos continúan realizándose.

Abstract: Distribution of bat species is given for first time for Cantabria Autonomous Community (northern Spain). This review is based on our own data from two different sources: three recent seasons of mist-netting (2015-2017) complemented with molecular analysis for cryptic species identification; and our own database, with records between 1999 and 2017, based on sighting (especially in bat roosts) and ultrasonic analysis. Distribution maps are completed with data previously published by other authors. Six species had not previously been documented in the region: Myotis escalerai, Myotis cf nattereri, Myotis alcathoe, Pipistrellus pygmaeus, Nyctalus lasiopterus and Nyctalus noctula. Two other species had only been formerly reported based on few skeletal remains of doubtful identification: Myotis bechsteinii and Myotis mystacinus. For many other taxa, previously published data were very scarce. The subspecies Plecotus auritus begognae has been identified as present throughout the region. Of the 25 species found, 16 show wide distribution, while the remaining present restricted distribution or they are little known. The samplings will have continuity. 

Bat activity in the interior of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and adjacent farmlands in Kenya

Simon Musila, Robert Syingi, Nathan Gichuki, Ivan Castro-Arellano

Abstract: Although the coastal forests in Kenya are highly threatened by human activities, limited bat research has been undertaken in them or the human-modified habitats around them. We investigated insectivorous bat activity in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (ASF) and adjacent farmlands, in order to understand how each habitat was used by bats. Bat activity was sampled with Pettersson D240X ultrasound detectors at 69 stations in different vegetation types in ASF (Cynometra forest, Brachystegia woodland and mixed forest) and farmlands (mango, coconut and mixed plots). The detector was always tuned to 33 kHz, and bat passes were counted along 10-minute 400 m transects at the start of each sampling hour in each station. In each activity survey station, insectivorous bats were also captured in mist-nets in order to determine which of the detector targeted bats could be captured. A total of 14,727 bat passes were counted in both habitats, which included 10,552 in the farmlands and 4,175 in ASF. The largest numbers of insectivorous bats were captured in farmlands. The mean number of bat passes per night in farmlands (152.9 ± 13.2) was significantly higher than in ASF (60.5 ± 4.6) (df = 68, t = -8.671, P <0.05, N = 69). There was no significant difference in the sampled medians of bat passes in the three main vegetation types both in the interior of the forest and in farmlands. Bat activity was highest during the rainy season. Bat activity in both habitats peaked at 1900hr (i.e. just after sunset), sharply declined to the lowest level at midnight, and then maintained a gradual increase from two to five in the morning. Although the farmlands in the study area had completely lost the indigenous vegetation found in ASF, some bat species, probably those more adapted to humanized environments, were found to use these habitats for foraging. This emphasizes the need for more bat research in human-modified ecosystems in Africa in order to understand these patterns and establish proper conservation guidelines.

Can Pteropus giganteus Brünnich, 1782 co-exist in a human dominated landscape? A case study in Pokhara valley, western Nepal

Basant Sharma, Anoj Subedi, Kritagya Gyawali, Prashant Ghimire, Bhuwan Singh Bist, Sanjeev Baniya

Abstract: Pteropus giganteus Brunnich, 1782 is the largest species of bat found in Nepal. Among the 20 colonies of P. giganteus recorded in Nepal, Chinnedanda, in the Pokhara valley, has been one of the most important diurnal roost sites for many decades, hosting a colony with up to 500 individuals. The existence of this species in Chinnedanda is threatened due to habitat encroachment and cutting of preferred roosting trees (Bombax ceiba and Dendrocalamus strictus) by local residents. Here we describe the effect of house construction on the colony and its shift from Chinnedanda to Shanti Banbatika, a nearby (4 km away) alternative roost. Monthly roost count surveys were conducted from July 2016 to December 2017 in order to understand the changes in numbers of roosting bats at both sites. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to assess the effect of building construction on the colony in Chinnedanda. Our findings indicate that the effects of building construction on the bats roosting at Chinnedanda became significantly more evident after four months of construction and suggest that the cutting of preferred roosting vegetation (Dendrocalamus strictus) for construction of buildings to use as scaffolding resources was the main factor causing the colony to relocate to Shanti Banbatika. Shanti Banbatika is now the primary roost site for P. giganteus in the Pokhara valley. The forest grove at this location should be preserved and human disturbances minimized to maintain it as a suitable roost for P. giganteus in future.

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