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1 December 2009 Selection of Maternity Roosts by Myotis bechsteinii (Kuhl, 1817) in the Southwestern Iberian Peninsula
María Napal, Inazio Garin, Urtzi Goiti, Egoitz Salsamendi, Joxerra Aihartza
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Bechstein's bat (Myotis bechsteinii) is a European species, restricted to woodlands with preference for mature deciduous forests in lowlands. It is considered rare throughout its range, although it may be common in optimal habitats. Roosts play crucial roles in the ecology of bats, and survival is partially dependant on the extent to which roosts protect bats from environmental extremes and predators. Roost selection is especially important for reproductive females, due to the higher energetic demands imposed by reproduction so understanding roost selection by maternity colonies is important for conservation. We investigated maternity roost selection by M. bechsteinii in southwestern Spain as a hierarchical process that proceeds from broad landscape scales to fine-scale local habitat characteristics. Radio-tracking of 28 lactating females allowed location and census of 13 maternity roost sites. Roosts were characterised at four detail scales (cavity, tree, stand, and landscape). All the roosts occurred in Quercus pyrenaica trees, within stands of the same species of very diverse structure. Ten of the roosts were former woodpecker holes, among which seven had their entrance modified by nuthatch. Roosts were located inside the forest and close (< 620 m) to permanent water sources. Roost trees were characterised by a higher proportion of dead branches. Other explored variables such as tree height, orientation, foliar cover, and elevation did not explain distribution of roosts at any scale. The species' breeding roost selection is described for the first time in a Mediterranean area.

© Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS
María Napal, Inazio Garin, Urtzi Goiti, Egoitz Salsamendi, and Joxerra Aihartza "Selection of Maternity Roosts by Myotis bechsteinii (Kuhl, 1817) in the Southwestern Iberian Peninsula," Acta Chiropterologica 11(2), 425-433, (1 December 2009).
Received: 1 June 2009; Accepted: 10 September 2009; Published: 1 December 2009

forest bats
maternity roost selection
Myotis bechsteinii
Quercus pyrenaica
secondary cavity users
tree cavities
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