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Miniopterus schreibersii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CHIROPTERA VESPERTILIONIDAE

Scientific Name: Miniopterus schreibersii
Species Authority: (Kuhl, 1817)
Common Name(s):
English Schreiber's Bent-winged Bat, Schreiber's Long-fingered Bat, Common Bentwing Bat
French Minioptère de Schreibers
Spanish Murciélago de Cueva
Taxonomic Notes: Does not include M. fuliginosus or M. natalensis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hutson, A.M., Aulagnier, S., Benda, P., Karataş, A., Palmeirim, J. & Paunović, M.
Reviewer(s): Hutson, A.M., Racey, P.A. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Near Threatened. Significant population declines and range contractions have been recorded in a number of range states and although it is stable in the Balkans and Turkey, overall the rate of population decline may approach 30% (almost qualifies as VU under A2a).
History:
2004 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Occurs from south-western Europe and north and west Africa through Anatolia and the Middle East to the Caucasus. In Africa it is known from records in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya), and west Africa (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Cameroon). It is patchily distributed over its range in some huge and vulnerable colonies.

It typically occurs at altitudes of up to 1,400 m asl (commuting up to 2,600 m asl).
Countries:
Native:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Cameroon; Croatia; Cyprus; France (Corsica); Georgia; Gibraltar; Greece (East Aegean Is., Kriti); Guinea; Holy See (Vatican City State); Hungary; Israel; Italy (Sardegna, Sicilia); Jordan; Lebanon; Liberia; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malta; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Nigeria; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; San Marino; Serbia (Serbia); Sierra Leone; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Baleares); Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey
Possibly extinct:
Austria
Regionally extinct:
Germany; Ukraine
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In southern Europe and Asia Minor this species is widely distributed and common, but it has lost the northern parts of its range since the 1960s. Summer breeding colonies typically number 500-10,000 individuals (formerly up to 80,000 animals in Bulgaria). It winters in clusters of at least a hundred individuals (exceptionally up to 33,000 animals in Spain and Romania). Population trends vary in different parts of the range: in most of south-east Europe and Turkey it appears to be stable, whereas very significant recent declines have occurred in northern parts of the European range. In south-west Europe there have been recent mass mortality events.

Extinction has occured in Germany and Ukraine. In Switzerland the species has declined since the 1960s and it is now close to extinction, and in Austria the hibernating population has declined from 2,500 to 1-2 individuals and all maternity colonies have been lost. In Romania, half of the roosts have disappeared since the 1960s. However, no decline has been recorded in large colonies in Croatia and Bulgaria. In 2002 mass mortalities of this species were reported for populations in France, Spain and Portugal; there are also historical records for such mortalities in Italy. A herpesvirus was found but not identified as the cause of the die offs. Hundreds of individuals were found dead in spring. Mortality up to 60% in one year (2002) was reported in France (Roué and Némoz 2002), and 40% mortality occurred in Spain during the same period including 1,000 dead individuals out of 6,000 in one colony. A number of sites were subsequently deserted. Outside Europe, it is the third most common bat species in Turkey, with large colonies of thousands of individuals (A. Karatas pers. comm. 2005). Populations in the Caucasus are considered Near Threatened (K. Tsytsulina pers. comm. 2005).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It forages in a variety of open and semi-open natural and artificial habitats, including suburban areas. It feeds mainly on moths, and occasionally on flies. It is a colonial species that roosts mostly in caves and mines (although it can also be found in man made tunnels, ruins and other buildings), often in large mixed colonies with other cave-dwelling bat species. Large warm caves are preferred during the nursing season. In winter it hibernates in underground sites (usually large caves with a constant microclimate). Schreiber's bat is a migrant species which changes its roosts several times during the year; long-distance movements occur occasionally (longest recorded distance 833 km: Hutterer et al. 2005).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Africa there are no known threats to the species. In Europe, the disturbance and loss of underground habitats and pesticide use may threaten this species. In the Caucasus, disturbance caused by tourism in caves is a problem (K. Tsytsulina pers. comm. 2005).

The cause of recent mass mortality events is unknown. In 2002 mass mortalities of this species were reported for populations in France, Spain and Portugal. There are also historical records for such mortalities in Italy, Australia and a possible incidence in Iran. A meeting was held at the 9th European Bat Conference to discuss these incidents. Veterinary investigations in Spain did not identify any disease as the cause of the die offs, and there is increasing belief that the die offs are caused by bad weather in late winter/early spring.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Europe, it is protected by national legislation in most range states. There are also international legal obligations for its protection through the Bonn Convention (Eurobats) and Bern Convention in parts of the range where these apply. It is included in Annex II (and IV) of the EU Habitats and Species Directive, and hence requires special measures for conservation including designation of Special Areas for Conservation. There is some habitat protection through Natura 2000, and some roosts are already protected by national legislation. There have been a number of LIFE-funded projects for this species in Spain, Italy, Romania and Germany.

The species is found in many protected areas throughout its range.

Care is required when fencing caves to minimise mortality. Further research is required into the causes of the recent mass mortality events.

Citation: Hutson, A.M., Aulagnier, S., Benda, P., Karataş, A., Palmeirim, J. & Paunović, M. 2008. Miniopterus schreibersii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 October 2014.
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