Long-fingered Bat

Myotis capaccinii (Bonaparte, 1837)

Leuconoe  capaccinii  bureschisubspec. nov.: Heinrich, 1936: 38.

Order Chiroptera

Family Vespertilionidae

Conservation status: in Bulgaria: Vulnerable VU [A2c], BDA-II, III; International: IUCN-VU [A2c], BeC-II, III, BoC-II, HD-II, IV.

General distribution. Mediterranean parts of Europe (in the north up to Italy and Romania), Northwestern Africa, Southern Asia Minor, Israel, Southern Iraq, Southern Iran.

Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria. Throughout the country, without the highest parts of the mountains. 73 shelters are known, most of them between 100 and 600 m altitude [1]. The total summer number is about 18 500 individuals. During the winter, when individuals from the surrounding countries migrate to Bulgaria and the numbers are about 45 000 individuals. For the cave loving species of bats, to which the long-fingered bat belongs, a decrease of the numbers has been registered by 20-40% at the average in the 1988-1992 period with respect to the 1955-1971 period [2].

Habitats. Karstic landscapes. It inhabits all the year round only underground shelters: caves and mine galleries.

Biology. It feeds exclusively on insects over water basins. It forms nursery colonies numbering between several tens to several thousands of individuals. Known in the country are 21 nursery colonies and eight summer non-nursery colonies. The maximum of birth-givings is in the period 20-25 May. It winters only in underground shelters. 15 winter shelters are known but more than 95% of the wintering population is concentrated in three caves: Parnitsite, Devetashkata and Ivanova voda. It makes regular seasonal migrations between the winter and the summer roosts (50-150 km).

Similar species. Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii) and the pond bat (Myotis dasycneme).

Negative factors. As this is a markedly colonial species, linked exclusively with underground shelters and because of the fact that most of the population of the Balkan Peninsula winters in three caves in Bulgaria, it is vulnerable by the anthropogenic pressure on the shelters (destruction, cave tourism, agricultural and animal breeding activities), leading to a disturbance and a change of the microclimate in them, for example the caves Magura, Devetashkata, Emenskata, etc. Anthropogenic degradation of the hunting habitats and the flight corridors linked with them. Destruction of the natural open water areas (lakes, marshes, river arms).

Conservation measures taken. Protected according to the Biological Diversity Act, EUROBATS and all the other conventions (without CITES). Many of the underground shelters in Bulgaria fall within different categories of protected territories. The inclusion of the known shelters in the Natura 2000 network of protected zones is about to be effected.

Conservation measures needed. Protection of underground shelters. Working out detailed management plans for those that are declared protected territories. Additional studies for explaining the "interim" (spring and autumn) copulative shelters (swarming sites) and of concrete hunting habitats and flight corridors, so that they can be protected as well. Continuation of the yearly monitoring in the significant underground shelters of bats [3].

References. 1. Benda et al., 2003; 2. Beshkov, 1993; 3. Ivanova, 2005.

Authors: Vasil Popov, Teodora Ivanova

Long-fingered Bat (distribution map)

Long-fingered Bat (drawing)