Effect of tree characteristics on roost selection of the Indian flying fox, Pteropus giganteus

Ram Kumar, Vadamalai Elangovan

Abstract: Tree characteristics are critical in determining roost quality for bats. Roosts are vital for the survival, social interaction, reproduction of a species, however optimum roost characteristics are poorly understood for several pteropodid species. In this study we aimed to improve our understanding of roost selection by the gregarious roosting species, the Indian flying fox, Pteropus giganteus. 72 colonies of P. giganteus were studied to assess the impact of roost traits such as diameter at breast height (dbh), tree height and canopy spread and non-roost dependent factors such as distance of roost from adjacent roads, water bodies and human settlements. The impact of relative grove size was also investigated. The characteristics of roost trees were compared with non-roost trees in order to quantify roost preference and selection. We identified the average colony size as 497.3 ± 270.0 individuals in Uttar Pradesh. At least 435 trees were used as roosts, which belonged to 22 tree species. The selection of roost trees was highly influenced by tree dbh, followed by canopy spread and tree height (r = 0.214). Most of non-roost dependent factors (i.e. distance of roosts from adjacent roads, human settlements and waterbodies) did not influence roost selection, however grove size and the number of potential roost trees was positively correlated with colony size. Thus, this study indicates protecting large trees and large groves would benefit the conservation of P. giganteus.

Acoustic surveys for local, free-flying bats in zoos: an engaging approach for bat education and conservation

Jericho C. Whiting, Bill Doering, David Pennock

Abstract: Bats are a highly diverse mammal taxon, and many populations are threatened in the wild. Zoos play an important role in wildlife education for conservation, and public education and support are critical for conserving bats, especially with the recent threats of white-nose syndrome in North America and wind-energy development. Conservation exhibits at zoos for local, free-flying bats, however, are rare. Here, we used an ultrasound detector set in the Idaho Falls Zoo to document local diversity and activity of free-flying bats. We then used that information to support bat conservation education in the zoo. From June to October 2018, we recorded 15,617 bat passes. We recorded 5 resident and 2 migrant species at the zoo, 6 of which were classed as being of conservation concern. Bat activity was highest in June, at sunset, and 64% of activity occurred within 4 hours after sunset. Bats in the zoo likely roosted in buildings, trees, and other structures, as well as foraged near water and foliage; therefore, the zoo and its exhibits provided diverse, extensive habitat for local, free-flying bats that came from inside and outside of the zoo. Our data led to public education activities at the zoo; and this technique required minimal space and maintenance. Our approach of acoustical monitoring bats at zoos is a simple, portable exhibit that could lead to research and increased public education and conservation of local, free-flying bats, which will help zoos be education centers for local species.

Use of forest strata by bats according to wing morphology and habitat complexity in a fragment of tropical dry forest (Colombia)

María H. Olaya-Rodríguez, Jairo Pérez-Torres, María C. Londoño-Murcia

Abstract: The high spatial heterogeneity of tropical forests is one of the main causes for its vast biodiversity, along with other factors such as resource partitioning and habitat structure. Bats are a major component of these ecosystems and provide different functional roles and ecosystem services. This aspect is especially important in highly fragmented environments such as dry tropical forests, where the mechanisms that control the structuring of bat assemblages in these environments are still unknown. The present study examined the use of forest strata by a bat assemblage, which was evaluated throughout 16 nights of sampling during the rainy season (September 2009) in a tropical dry forest in Colombia. Using elevated and ground mist nets, a total of 170 bats from 13 different species were captured. Of these, 110 individuals and four unique species were captured at the Available Height for Foraging (AHF) (5.4-8.4 m) and 60 individuals and five unique species at the understory height (0-3 m). Variation in the vertical distribution of bat species revealed differences in feeding habits and foraging strategies, demonstrating species-specific patterns on how bats move through the forest according to leaf density and wing morphology. A possible relationship was detected between the wing aspect ratio and the forest layer in which the bats forage, probably according to food resource distribution, which has the potential to influence the structure of bat assemblages, and of the functional dynamics of these animals in tropical dry forests.

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Bats from the understorey of lowland tropical rainforests across Peninsular Malaysia

Lee-Sim Lim, Matthew J. Struebig, Mohamed Nor Zalipah, Adura Mohd-Adnan, Juliana Senawi, Akbar Zubaid, Shahrul Anuar Mohd Sah, Stephen J. Rossiter

Abstract: To date, 110 bat species are recorded in Peninsular Malaysia. Many of these species depend upon tropical forests, which have rapidly decreased in extent over recent decades. Yet, updated information on species distributions in the region is still lacking. Here, we report bat species records and their distribution based from surveys undertaken at 30 lowland tropical rainforest sites across Peninsular Malaysia. We recorded 56 species from seven families. The three most abundant species across the peninsula were Rhinolophus affinis, Hipposideros bicolor complex and Hipposideros cervinus. Four out of nine singleton species (Chironax melanocephalus, Coelops robinsoni, Myotis hermani and Hesperoptenus doriae) are forest specialists that are patchily distributed across the peninsula, while another five are open space/edge species that utilise the forest occasionally. The understorey assemblage comprises frugivorous, insectivorous and nectar-drinking species. Thirteen percent of all captured species are represented by at least one record outside of their previous known distributional range. Furthermore, our study suggests that updated and informative species distribution is essential to further study these bat species since information on their ecology and basic natural history remains poorly known. An improved understanding of species ecology and population status will contribute to more effective conservation efforts. Our survey data provide comprehensive records of understorey forest bats in a biodiversity hotspot.

Catch and release: Novel predation strategy by white-bellied sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) on island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) in Peninsular Malaysia demonstrates flying fox swimming ability

Sheema Abdul Aziz, Marcus A.H. Chua, Gopalasamy Reuben Clements

Abstract: Raptors are one of the known predators of flying foxes (Pteropus spp.), but this predator-prey relationship is poorly understood. Here, we report an opportunistic observation of a pair of white-bellied sea-eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) employing an undocumented predation technique on an island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) individual from Tioman Island, off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The sea-eagles appeared to deliberately drop the flying fox in the sea, repeatedly. Systematic observations could help determine the frequency of this predator-prey interaction, and improve our understanding of it.

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Indian flying fox Pteropus giganteus is declining in lowland Nepal: Need of conservation actions

Hem Bahadur Katuwal, Subash Kushwaha, Rui-Chang Quan

Abstract: The population of the largest fruit bat Indian flying fox is declining throughout its range. We identified tree felling and hunting as current threats to 11 newly recorded colonies across eight districts of lowland Nepal and that six previously known roosts have collapsed. Importantly, we identified that local people were unaware of the ecological benefits and importance of the Indian flying fox. We propose a number of immediate conservation actions required to protect the remnant populations of the species in human-dominated landscapes across Nepal.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.

Primeros datos sobre migración e hibernación de nóctulos en el Pirineo occidental

Juan Tomás Alcalde

Resumen: La migración de murciélagos en Europa es todavía un aspecto muy poco conocido de su biología. Aunque se conocen desplazamientos migratorios entre el norte y el sur del continente, particularmente en las especies del género Nyctalus, todavía se ignoran sus rutas migratorias. En el período 2016-2018 se estudió la migración post estival de dos especies del género Nyctalus en 22 pasos del Pirineo occidental, utilizando una cámara de vídeo infrarrojo-térmico acoplada a un detector de ultrasonidos. Se grabaron los vuelos de los murciélagos durante las 4-6 primeras horas de la noche, durante 38 noches, y se registraron 175 vuelos rectilíneos de nóctulos, 86 % de los cuales se identificaron como vuelos de entrada a la península ibérica, desde el continente europeo. La mayor parte de ellos (97 %) se asignaron a nóctulos pequeños (Nyctalus leisleri). A pesar de que la cámara utilizada no permitió el estudio cuantitativo de la migración de nóctulos, gracias a este método se pudieron identificar 12 lugares por donde los nóctulos entran a la península. Las mayores tasas de paso se registraron entre el 1 y el 20 de septiembre. Además, se radiomarcaron 10 hembras de nóctulos (5 Nyctalus leisleri y 5 Nyctalus noctula) y mediante radioseguimiento se localizaron dos refugios de hibernación de nóctulos medianos (Nyctalus noctula), ambos en paredes rocosas de cañones del pre-Pirineo. En una de ellas se contabilizaron hasta 31 ejemplares de esta especie. El conocimiento de las rutas migratorias y los refugios de hibernación son básicos para la adecuada conservación de sus poblaciones. 

Seasonal emergence counts from a multispecies horseshoe bat (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae) roost in the Philippines

Frex D. Dimaculangan, Angela Como Jacobson, Phillip Alviola, James Alvarez, Jodi L. Sedlock

Abstract: The seasonal roost use of Philippine horseshoe bats (Family: Rhinolophidae) is poorly known. Here, we monitored an undisturbed rock crevice roost comprised of four Rhinolophus species on Mount Makiling, Philippines, to document seasonal changes in colony size and species composition. Evening emergences were videotaped using an IR spotlight and an IR-sensitive camera and were acoustically recorded using an ultrasonic detector. Emergence counts ranged from an average of 7,965 bats in the wet season to 177 bats in the dry season. Higher emergence counts in the wet season, and the presence of post-lactating females and juveniles, together indicated that Rhinolophus arcuatus and Rhinolophus inops used the rock crevice as a maternity roost. Rhinolophus macrotis and Rhinolophus virgo were detected during all survey months but comprised a smaller proportion of the wet-season emergence than R. arcuatus and R. inops. These data, while limited in scope, provide the first evidence of seasonal cave use by Philippine horseshoe bats and highlight the potential conservation value of this particular roost as a maternity site for horseshoe bats within the Makiling Forest Reserve.

Record of Great Woolly Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus luctus, Temmick 1834) in Western Nepal

Sanjeev Baniya, Basant Sharma, Chiranjeevi Khanal, Nirjala Raut, Puspa Raj Acharya

Abstract: The study of bats is generally sparse and underdeveloped in Nepal. Recently there has been more interest in the bat research, but despite the increase of publications, it is still in its’ preliminary phase. Proper species inventory and thorough research on the distribution of bats is still lacking. Previously, the Great Woolly Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus luctus) was recorded from only five different locations in Nepal. Here, we report the range extension of the species to the Western landscape in Nepal. Two independent studies have identified its presence in four new locations: Chamere Gupha (The Bat cave), Banpale forest within the Kaski District, Parbati cave, and the Pipale odaar within Parbat District. Hereby, we provide a new distribution map for R. luctus and recommend further research on the ecology of bats in the Midwestern and Far-western regions of Nepal in order to fill current knowledge gaps.

Contextualización en el registro paleontológico de Myotis capaccinii (Bonaparte, 1837) de su presencia en yacimientos íbero-baleares

José Antonio Garrido-García

Resumen: Myotis capaccinii muestra un área de distribución anómala entre los murciélagos ibéricos, limitada a la costa mediterránea y sus cercanías. En este estudio, basado en una recopilación bibliográfica de su registro fósil, se analiza la posibilidad de que esto se deba a las variaciones corológicas generadas por las oscilaciones climáticas pleistocenas. Existe un fuerte contraste entre el registro fósil del conjunto Italia continental-Sicilia-Malta, continuo entre el Pleistoceno inferior y el Holoceno y procedente de 16 yacimientos, y el del área continental franco-ibérica, limitado a un yacimiento del Pleistoceno inferior, dos de la transición Pleistoceno mediosuperior y otro del Holoceno. Tras descartar que estas diferencias se deban a sesgos metodológicos en el estudio de su registro fósil, se concluye que mostrarían los cambios de distribución de la especie en el Pleistoceno. Según estos datos, tras una primera fase de presencia en todo el Mediterráneo noroccidental (Pleistoceno inferior y medio), M. capaccinii habría desaparecido del área franco-ibérica el último periodo glaciar, y las poblaciones actuales procederían de una expansión holocena desde la península italiana que habría ocupado sólo parte de su área de distribución potencial ibérica. Estas conclusiones contradicen las interpretaciones que se han hecho hasta ahora a partir de datos filogenéticos que indican un origen ibérico para las actuales poblaciones francesas e italianas, y sería necesario intensificar este tipo de estudios para obtener una imagen ajustada de la historia genética de la especie en la Región Mediterránea occidental.

The first record of Coelops frithii (Blyth, 1848) to Penang, Malaysia, with a note of the potential acoustic plasticity of the species

Joe Chun-Chia Huang, Nur Izzati Abdullah, Nurul-Ain Elias, Shahrul Anaur Mohd Sah, Lee Sim Lim

Abstract: The East Asian Tailless Leaf-nosed Bat (Coelops frithii) is a small hipposiderid species that widely distributed in the Asian tropics and subtropics, but rarely recorded across its distribution range. Here, we present the first record of C. frithii to Penang, Malaysia. An adult female was captured in a botanic garden in March 2015 by a harp trap. The record confirms the presence of the species nearly two decades after the last report from the country. We found that the bat used two varieties of echolocation calls. It typically used short frequency-modulated calls with high pitch and low duty cycles, which is similar to the calls reported from its congeneric. The second type of echolocation contains a short but higher duty cycle quasi-frequency-modulated call, used alternatively with the low duty cycle type call. The results indicate the potential plasticity of the echolocation strategy in the species. Our finding of the species from Penang also highlights the conservation value of man-managed forest-liked habitats in maintaining bat species in urbanized landscapes.

How to make bat’s life easier: a new method of chemiluminescent light tags attachment

Olha Timofieieva, Vitalii Hukov, Viktor Kovalov, Anton Vlaschenko

Abstract: Movement ecology of bats remains insufficiently studied. Chemiluminescent light tags have been a tool for studying this aspect of bat ecology. However, the potential negative impacts of chemiluminescent tags on the health and lifespan of bats has been poorly investigated. In this study, we tested two methods of light tag attachment: 1) standard method, which includes a direct tag application onto animal’s fur with glue, and 2) our new proposed method, which uses a cotton wool insert for tag application. Our objectives were to study if bats can remove light tags themselves; study whether there was potential for bats to bite through the plastic casing of the tags (potentially exposing them to risk of intoxication); and to compare the length of attachment of the wool-attachment method against traditional attachment methods. These were tested in two species, namely Nyctalus noctula (6 females, 8 males) and Pipistrellus kuhlii (8 females, 6 males). Two light tags (Cormoran, 3×25 mm, 0,2 g) were attached to each individual (back and stomach). The cotton wool insert was made from a piece of twisted medical cotton wool 20-25 mm long, one side of which was attached to the tag with a glue, and another to the fur. Cotton wool inserts significantly reduced the time required by bats to shed the tag. In both species, light tags without inserts remained attached for 48 hours in 90% of cases. None of the N. noctula individuals without inserts managed to remove light tags either from their stomach or back. We suggest that our new proposed method of light tag attachment allows bats to remove tags faster and therefore reduces possible risks associated with the use of chemiluminescent light tags.

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Echolocation calls of high duty-cycle bats (Hipposideridae and Rhinonycteridae) from Kenya

Paul W. Webala, Jens Rydell, Carl W. Dick, Simon Musila, Bruce D. Patterson

Abstract: We describe the echolocation calls of six species of Hipposideridae: Doryrhina camerunensis, Hipposideros beatus, H. caffer, H. ruber, Macronycteris gigas, and M. vittata and two species of Rhinonycteridae: Cloeotis percivali and Triaenops afer. The recordings were made in Kenya during 2013-2018, using Pettersson D500X and D1000X real time, full spectrum bat detectors. All species used highintensity constant-frequency echolocation of high duty-cycle. Most of them separate clearly in the constant-frequency component of the echolocation calls and can be recognized based on that feature alone. This study provides the first description of the echolocation calls of D. camerunensis, whereas those of H. beatus, H. ruber, and C. percivali from Kenya are also described for the first time. Additionally, call frequencies for some of these species differ from those of other parts of their range, demonstrating the need for collection and publication of more local call libraries from tropical regions.