Nyctalus azoreum 

Scope: Global, Europe & Mediterranean
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Vespertilionidae

Scientific Name: Nyctalus azoreum (Thomas, 1901)
Common Name(s):
English Azorean Bat, Azores Noctule
French Noctule Des Açores
Spanish Nóctulo De Azores
Taxonomic Notes: There is marked genetic differentiation between populations on central and eastern islands in the archipelago, indicating that they have evolved in relative isolation for a long time (Salgueiro et al. 2004).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-04-25
Assessor(s): Piraccini, R.
Reviewer(s): Pacifici, M. & Cassola, F.
Contributor(s): Hutson, A.M., Aulagnier, S., Rainho, A. & Palmeirim, J.
This species' population has been estimated at 2,000-5,000 individuals and the most abundant subpopulation numbers less than 1,000 individuals. For these reasons this species meets the criteria for being assessed as Vulnerable (VU C2a(i)). This species is endemic to the Azores, where it has a small population and range. It is suspected to be declining as a result of disturbance and destruction of colonies, loss and degradation of natural and semi-natural habitats and pesticide use. There is no direct information on dispersal between islands, but genetic research suggests that dispersal is restricted, and so the population is precautionarily regarded as being severely fragmented; further research would be required to confirm this. For these reasons, it may be approaching the Endangered category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Azorean Bat (Nyctalus azoreum) is restricted to the Azores archipelago (Portugal), where it occurs on Faial, Pico, San Jorge, Graciosa, Terceira, San Miguel and Santa Maria islands, from sea level to 600 m (A. Rainho pers. comm. 2006). Its Area of Occurrence is estimated at ca 2,200 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Portugal (Azores)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:2200
Number of Locations:7
Upper elevation limit (metres):600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Surveys in 2002, 2003 and 2004 found the Azorean Bat (Nyctalus azoreum) quite abundant on San Miguel, Faial, Terceira and San Jorge, but rare on Graciosa and extremely rare on Santa Maria. It is absent from Flores and Corvo. There is no quantitative information on population trend, but it is suspected that the species may be declining as a result of habitat degradation, destruction of or exclusion from roosts (both in trees and buildings), and human persecution. Local environmental groups report that numerous colonies have disappeared (A. Rainho pers. comm. 2006). The total population is estimated at 2,000-5,000 individuals, and there are fewer than 1,000 individuals on San Miguel, where the species is most abundant (Cabral et al. 2005, J.M. Palmeirim, A. Rainho and L. Rodrigues pers. comm. 2006).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:11-5000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This bat forages over a variety of habitats on the islands, favouring natural and semi-natural habitats. It frequently feeds around artificial lighting (e.g. streetlamps). Most maternity colonies are probably located in buildings, trees and rock crevices.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):5

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Human persecution, and the destruction of roost sites, are likely to be the main threats (A. Rainho pers. comm. 2006). Habitat loss and degradation, use of pesticides and the spread of exotic plant species may also have a detrimental effect on the species. It is suspected that the extreme scarcity of the species on Santa Maria is attributable to habitat loss and degradation. This species is particularly vulnerable to persecution because it flies during the day, making colonies obvious and easy to find (A. Rainho pers. comm. 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is no specific national legislation. It is protected under Bern Convention and included in Annex IV of EU Habitats and Species Directive. There are proposals for protection and monitoring of roosts, public awareness (with special reference to roosts), reduction of adverse agricultural practices, preservation and restoration of natural habitat, use of lights that attract insects (e.g. mercury), and further studies of the species' biology (Rainho et al. 2002). A bat monitoring program, based on annual acoustic surveys, is currently under development (A. Rainho pers. comm.).

Citation: Piraccini, R. 2016. Nyctalus azoreum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T14922A546843. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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