Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Lost' bats found breeding on Scilly

20.06.2011
A University of Exeter biologist has discovered a 'lost' species of bat breeding on the Isles of Scilly (UK).

A pregnant female brown long-eared bat is the first of its species to be found on the islands for at least 40 years. It was discovered by Dr Fiona Mathews, Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter, a postgraduate student and a team from the Wiltshire Bat Group.

The Scilly Isles Bat Group called in Dr Mathews and her team to help them find out more about bats on the islands. The researchers set up a radiotracking study, with funding from the Isles of Scilly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to monitor the islands' bat activity.

The team solved the mystery of the annual disappearance of the large common pipistrelle colony on St Mary's by finding that the bats had moved to a new site. They also discovered that there were brown-long eared bats roosting in a pine tree.

Dr Fiona Mathews of the University of Exeter said: "We were surprised and delighted to find this brown long-eared bat and particularly excited that it is a pregnant female, as it suggests that there must be a breeding colony."

Brown long-eareds were last seen on the Isles of Scilly in the 1960s. Known as 'the whispering bat', these animals rely less on echolocation than other British bats and use their remarkably large ears to detect the sounds of caterpillars and their other prey on leaves. Because they only come out to fly when it is too dark to see them, and their calls are too quiet to be picked up on 'bat detectors', they are virtually impossible to detect using standard survey methods. The bats are very reliant on woodland, which is in short supply on the islands.

Dr Mathews continued: "We found this individual roosting in an old split Monterey pine tree planted by the shore as a wind-break, and feeding along avenues of elm trees. Now we know the bats are there, local conservation organisations can start to improve the habitat for them. This includes planting the tree species that attract night-flying insects, restricting lighting in key areas as it discourages the bats from coming out to feed, and ensuring that new trees are planted to replace the dying ones along the coastline.

"In addition, much can be done to provide suitable places for them to have their babies. Bats can live for over 20 years but breed very slowly. Because they do not build nests, the mothers must find locations which will keep their babies warm during the night whilst the adults leave the roost to feed. They will happily use lofts and bat boxes, as well as tree holes. The last known colony on the Isles of Scilly disappeared when their roosting site in a building was lost and now we have a chance to reverse their fortunes."

Mike Gurr, Chair of the Scilly Isles Bat Group added: "Since the formation of the IOS Bat Group in 2006, we have had sound evidence only for common pipistrelles being permanent residents and breeding in Scilly. This joint research project has confirmed the long-suspected presence of soprano pipistrelles as well but, most exciting of all, we now know for sure that we have brown long-eared bats living and breeding here. The work demonstrates what several people had long felt to be the case but could not prove. Studying these lovely creatures will be one of the IOS Bat Group's priorities for the next few years".

About brown long-eared bats (Plecotus auritus)

- Brown long-eared bats have ears that are three quarters the length of their head and body

- The bats fold their ears over when they are resting

- They fly close to the ground so are vulnerable to predation from domestic cats

- Their diet is largely composed of moths and caterpillars

- The brown long-eared bat is one of 18 bat species known to live in the UK.

Sarah Hoyle | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.exeter.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>