Geoffroy's Bat

Myotis emarginatus (Geoffroy, 1806)

Order Chiroptera

Family Vespertilionidae

Conservation status: in Bulgaria: Vulnerable VU [B1 b(i, ii, iv)], BDA-II, III; International: IUCN-VU, BeC-II, BoC-II, HD-II, IV.

General distribution. Central and Southern Europe, in the north to Southern Poland and the Netherlands, in the east to Afganistan, Eastern Iran and Uzbekistan. Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Lebanon.

Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria. Known are 73 localities, situated throughout the country [1], whereby 31 of these were reported before 1985. Most roosts and colonies have been registered in the low mountainous belt (at altitudes of up to 400-500 m). Singular individuals have been registered at altitudes of up to about 1 600 m in the Central Balkan range [2], at an altitude of 1550 m in Rila [1], 1 560 m altitude in the Western Rhodopes [3]. In the ca. 30 nursery colonies known so far, the number of individuals is between 300 and 600. Record numbers, about 7 000 individuals, have been found in a cave in the Eastern Rhodopes [4].

Habitats. A characteristic inhabitant of low-mountainous karstic regions [1, 5]. It settles in caves, abandoned buildings, old military bumkers, etc. A thermophilous species. The temperature in the nursery roosts may reach 35 °C [6].

Biology. The nursery colonies mainly consist of female individuals, most frequently mixed with horseshoe bats. Before the middle of August, soon after all the young are able to fly, the colony leaves the shelter and settles in another near or distant retreat. Registered in Bulgaria is one of the longest migrations of the species (105 km): from the village of Muselievo, Nikopol region, to the cave Vodnite dupki in the Central Balkan range [7]. It mainly feeds on spiders, flies, lacewings and less frequently on butterflies. During the winter only singular individuals are found in Bulgaria, in caves. Due to the higher numbers, the populations in the Balkan peninsula are considered to be an important genetic reserve for the species [8].

Similar species. It differs from the similarly sized representatives of the genus Myotis with the well marked clip in the distal half of the external edge of the ear.

Negative factors. Disturbance during the breeding period (June-July). When driven away and in the absence of an alternative shelter in the same area, the colonies fall apart and the breeding success is almost nil [7]. Overgrowing or collapsing of the entrances of the shelters leads to their temporary or permanent abandonment.

Conservation measures taken. The species is protected according to the Biological Diversity Act, EUROBATS and all the other conventions (without CITES). Some its known habitats fall within reserves (for example Ropotamo), in national (the Central Balkans) and natural parks (Vratsa Balkans), in protected localities (for example, Gyurgena near Madzharovo) or are declared natural sites (for example, the caves Nanin kamak, Nikopol region, Yagodinska, Smolyan region; Devetashka, Lovech region, etc.). Most of the important habitats are included in the List of Significant Underground Habitats of Bats [9].

Conservation measures needed. Declaration of territories of shelters that accommodate nursery colonies as protected. Organizing focused monitoring and taking management measures for ensuring a better protection for the damaged habitats.

References. Benda et al., 2003; 2. Ivanova, 1998; 3. Horacek et al., 1974; 4. Ivanova & Guerguieva, 2005; 5. Pandurska, 2002; 6. Petrov, 1997; 7. Schunger et al., 2004; 8. Topal, 2001; 9. Ivanova, 2005.

Author: Boyan Petrov

Geoffroy's Bat (distribution map)

Geoffroy's Bat (drawing)