New breeding data on Rhinolophus beddomei in Sri Lanka: first record of juveniles

W.G.M. Edirisinghe, I.M.C. De Silva, T.G.T. Kusuminda, M.H.D. Kamindu Thilina, K.D.S.D. Gunawardana

Abstract: The lesser woolly horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus beddomei) is a forest dwelling species found throughout Sri Lanka, mostly restricted to old growth forest areas with small populations known, and listed as Vulnerable (VU) according to the National Red List. Two new forest roosting sites of this species were identified in the lowland wet zone within the Mahausakanda and Govinna regions of Sri Lanka’s Sabaragamuwa Province and Western Province. Both roosts were found in small caves and were occupied by four individuals of R. beddomei including two juveniles in each site. These are the first time two pups per brood recordings of R. beddomei in Sri Lanka. Observations were made in April 2012 and March 2015 and it provides evidence that the first quarter of the year might be the breeding cycle of R. beddomei. However, the breeding behaviour of this species has not been thoroughly researched and further studies are required on the ecology of this species.

First record of Hypsugo cf darwinii (Tomes, 1859) in Tuscany, Italy

Dondini Gianna, Vergari Simone, Fichera Gaetano, Kiefer Andreas

Abstract: Hypsugo darwinii was originally described in the Canary material supplied by Darwin and attributed later to Hypsugo savii, but recent genetic studies have instead highlight edits new systematic position. It is distributed in North Africa, the Canary Islands, Sicily and Sardinia. Research carried out on Montecristo Island (Tuscan Archipelago National Park) in 2015, revealed the presence of this species on this island, the first for Tuscany, thus providing the new northernmost limit of its distribution. Our results also highlight the importance of small isolated islands for the conservation of bat biodiversity, particularly in the Mediterranean basin.

Time-lapse photography as an effective method for bat population monitoring

David Guixé, Elena Roca, Gerard Barengueras

Abstract: Determining the size of bat populations is essential for evaluating their conservation status. Camera trapping with time-lapse is a rarely used technique but has many potential advantages for monitoring bats. We tested this technique to see if it is an appropriate technique for monitoring bat colonies all-year-round and for surveying the phenology of roosting sites. We sampled a colony of lesser horseshoe bats Rhinolophus hipposideros for a year to assess the efficiency of this method. We estimated that the colony of R. hipposideros contained 23-25 adults and 10-14 individuals of juveniles; we determined the arrival time of the colony in March and its departure time in early November, as well as the reproductive periods. Their daily activity patterns during the four seasons were described and consistent with the available literature. We proved this technique as a valuable method for bats survey in a non-intrusive way, making possible to gather valuable information on bats populations.

Rapid assessment of bat diversity in the Taita Hills Afromontane cloud forests,
southeastern Kenya

Adrià López-Baucells, Ricardo Rocha, Paul Webala, Abhilash Nair, Ruut Uusitalo, Tarja Sironen, Kristian M. Forbes

Abstract: Tropical mountain ranges are known to support high biodiversity. In addition to their role as refuge habitat, complex topography within these ecosystems promotes the development of diverse species traits and evolutionary divergence. However, species within these environments also face severe anthropological threats, most notably from habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, and climate change. A primary example is the Taita Hills in Kenya, which forms the northernmost portion of the biodiversity rich Eastern Arc Mountains. Despite the high biodiversity potential for the area, little is known regarding chiropteran diversity. In order to address this lack of knowledge, we conducted a rapid biological survey of bats during January-February 2016. Our trapping effort was focused on different habitat types (e.g. highland cloud rainforest fragments, lowland riverbeds and human structures) and diverse trapping methods were used (e.g. mist-netting and hand-netting). A total of 169 bats belonging to at least 19 species from 7 different families were captured across 16 sampling sites. We report 10 new species records for the Taita Hills region, including the first record of Miniopterus mossambicus for East Africa, with a major range expansion in its distribution, as well as the first echolocation call for Glauconycteris argentata in eastern Africa. Several cases of probable species complexes were also identified, which are the focus of ongoing molecular work. Together, our results demonstrate that the Taita Hills region is home to rich bat diversity, not yet completely assessed, and emphasizes the urgent need to conserve the remaining forest fragments.