Nyctalus azoreum 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Vespertilionidae

Scientific Name: Nyctalus azoreum
Species Authority: (Thomas, 1901)
Common Name(s):
English Azorean Bat, AZOREAN BAT, Azores Noctule
French Noctule Des Açores, NOCTULE DES AÇORES
Spanish Nóctulo De Azores, 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: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hutson, A.M., Aulagnier, S., Rainho, A. & Palmeirim, J.
Reviewer(s): Hutson, A.M., Racey, P.A. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
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 is assessed as Endangered.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: 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, where it occurs from sea level to 600 m (A. Rainho pers. comm. 2006). Its extent of occurrence is estimated at ca.2,200 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Portugal (Azores)
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 species 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 recently disappeared (A. Rainho pers. comm. 2006). The total population is estimated at 2,000-5,000 individuals, and there are probably 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:
Population severely fragmented: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It forages over a variety of habitats on the islands, favouring natural and semi-natural habitats. But it frequently feeds around artificial lighting (e.g. streetlamps). Most maternity colonies are probably located in buildings, trees and rock crevices.
Systems: Terrestrial
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).

Citation: Hutson, A.M., Aulagnier, S., Rainho, A. & Palmeirim, J. 2008. Nyctalus azoreum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T14922A4475157. . Downloaded on 26 May 2016.
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