Context . Urbanisation is often regarded as a major threat to global biodiversity. Although wildlife is frequently affected by urbanisation, some species may actually benefit from it. Bats are among the commonest wild mammals in human-modified areas, and some species seem particularly well suited to exploit urban habitats where they find roosting and foraging opportunities.
Aims . We investigated habitat selection around roosts of synurbic Kuhl’s pipistrelles, Pipistrellus kuhlii, in Italy.
Methods . We measured the effects of the amount of urban habitat on bat reproductive timing and success in human-modified environments.
Key results . We found that P. kuhlii selects roosts surrounded by areas featuring urban habitats, especially those subject to urban development. Colonies in cities and suburbs advanced parturition time and produced more pups than those in rural areas. Permanent water sources and artificial lights in the surrounding habitats also seemed to favour the species reproductive success, particularly in developing urban areas.
Conclusions . Our results showed that this bat benefits from urbanisation and provided new insights on the effects of this major process on animal ecology and conservation in urban environments.
Implications . Although the ecological flexibility and positive response to urbanisation of P. kuhlii may help explain its recent range expansion, the role of climate change as a potential driver of this process has yet to be tested.