In highly seasonal temperate zones climate may cause fluctuations in the accessibility of prey for insectivorous bats. The main objective of this project was to evaluate if these fluctuations can result in resource bottlenecks that affect the body condition of a temperate zone bat — Myotis myotis. Seasonal changes in body condition followed different patterns in Portugal and Germany, which have different climates. In Germany bats use thermally better hibernacula, which allow them to minimize energy expenditure, but because of the longer winters they emerge from hibernation in poorer condition. Except during the hibernation period, food was always abundant in Germany, but the condition of the animals was poor when bad weather constrained foraging, particularly in early spring. In Portugal food was limiting during the long dry summer, and this affected the condition of the animals for several months. The conclusion that food resources can act as a limiting factor is relevant for conservation because, like other bat species, M. myotis forages mostly in agricultural and forestry habitats, and can be affected by practices that accentuate resource bottlenecks. Where necessary, the management of agroecosystems near colonies of M. myotis and of other threatened bats should aim at minimizing seasonal food bottlenecks.
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