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Habitat selection by Geoffroy's bats (Myotis emarginatus) in a rural Mediterranean landscape: implications for conservation

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Most of the little information available on the foraging ecology of the threatened Geoffroy's bat Myotis emarginatus refers to areas outside the Mediterranean Basin. In this study, we analysed habitat selection by this species in a typical Mediterranean landscape. We radio-tracked a breeding colony (adults and juveniles) in the Iberian Peninsula and analysed habitat selection patterns. Although we confirmed the species' preference for forest, olive groves also appeared an important foraging habitat for both adults and juveniles. Juveniles proved to be less mobile than adults, moving on average 1.6 km less than adults in displacements to foraging sites and preferred more accessible habitats. We highlight here the importance of traditionally managed olive groves as foraging sites for this threatened bat. The ripping-up of ancient olive groves and their replacement by intensively managed cropland, urban areas or shrubland represents a significant threat for this vulnerable species in Mediterranean landscapes.
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Keywords: FORAGING; JUVENILES; MEDITERRANEAN; MYOTIS EMARGINATUS; OLIVES; TRADITIONAL FARMLAND

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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