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1 June 2003 Influence of Habitat on the Foraging Behaviour of the Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat, Rhinolophus euryale
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In a previous study on habitat use by Rhinolophus euryale in an Atlantic area (Northern Iberian Peninsula), this bat species foraged exclusively in woodland, including both native deciduous woodland and exotic plantations. As the study was carried out in a landscape that was profoundly altered by industrial forestry, we predicted that in a better preserved landscape this species would select smaller feeding areas located at closer distances from the roost, according to the optimal foraging theory, and would use almost exclusively the preferred habitat, i.e., native deciduous woodland. To test these hypotheses, we radiotracked 14 R. euryale from the largest known breeding colony of northern Iberian Peninsula and determined their habitat selection, spatial foraging pattern, and hunting behaviour. Our predictions on habitat selection, as well as on the foraging site size and on commuting range were confirmed. Rhinolophus euryale used almost exclusively native deciduous woodland, and hedgerows were positively selected. We suggest that the richness of tree species in hedgerows provides a high prey availability sustained in time and space. Our findings show that habitat disturbance constitutes a major cause of decline for R. euryale in the study area.
© Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS
Urtzi Goiti, Jose R. Aihartza, Inazio Garin and Javier Zabala "Influence of Habitat on the Foraging Behaviour of the Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat, Rhinolophus euryale," Acta Chiropterologica 5(1), (1 June 2003).
Received: 2 October 2002; Accepted: 1 December 2002; Published: 1 June 2003

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