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New Zealand Lesser Short Tailed Bat

Mystacina tuberculata Gray 1843

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
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Maximum longevity: 7.6 years (captivity) Observations: One specimen lived 7.6 years in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005). Maximum longevity could still be underestimated, though.
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Reproduction
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M. tuberculata are polyestrous. Births occur at any time, with the single young being born between spring and autumn. (Nowak,1994)

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average birth mass: 3.2 g.

Average number of offspring: 1.

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Ivaldi, F. 1999. "Mystacina tuberculata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mystacina_tuberculata.html
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Francesca Ivaldi, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Behavior
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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Ivaldi, F. 1999. "Mystacina tuberculata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mystacina_tuberculata.html
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Francesca Ivaldi, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status
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The IUNC regards M.tuberculata ans vulnerable. It is thought that this species declined through destruction of forest habitat, predation by introduced rats and other non-native mammals, accidental poisoning, and human disturbance of roosts. (Nowak, 1994)

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable

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Ivaldi, F. 1999. "Mystacina tuberculata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mystacina_tuberculata.html
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Francesca Ivaldi, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy
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M. tuberculata are omnivorous, eating fruit, nectar, and pollen, as well as insects and other arthropods, and they have been seen to dine on carrion. (Macdonald,1984; Stoddart, 1979)

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Ivaldi, F. 1999. "Mystacina tuberculata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mystacina_tuberculata.html
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Francesca Ivaldi, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution
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M. tuberculata lives only on New Zealand and the islands immediately adjacent to it. These islands include North Island, South Island, Little Barrier Island, and several smaller islands off of Stewart Island. (Macdonald, 1984; Nowak, 1994)

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

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Ivaldi, F. 1999. "Mystacina tuberculata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mystacina_tuberculata.html
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Habitat
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These bats mostly live in the forests of New Zealand and its neighboring islands. (Nowak, 1994)

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

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Ivaldi, F. 1999. "Mystacina tuberculata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mystacina_tuberculata.html
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Francesca Ivaldi, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Expectancy
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Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
7.6 years.

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Ivaldi, F. 1999. "Mystacina tuberculata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mystacina_tuberculata.html
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Francesca Ivaldi, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology
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The forearm length for M.tuberculata ranges in length from 40 to 45 mm. They are small bats, reaching head-body lengths of 6 to 8 cm. M. tuberculata has thick fur, actually thicker than that found on other species of bats. The upper portion of its body is gray brown, while the underparts are paler. The claws are needle sharp. The wings are unique in their thick and leathery membranes, and because they can be rolled under when the bat is not flying, enabling it to use its arms as forelegs when on the ground. The first phalanx of each digit folds to the outer side of the metacarpal when the wing is folded, unlike in other species of bat, in which the phalanx folds in. The thumb is also unique in that it has a large claw with a small talon projecting from it, a feature lacking in other microchiropterans. The claws of the feet also display talons. The tail perforates the dorsal surface of the tail membrane, which is thick and wrinkled at the base of the tail. M. tuberculata have an obliquely truncated muzzle, primitive nostril patterns, and a scattering of stiff bristles with spoon-shaped tips on their snout. The nostrils are oblong and vertical. The ears have a long, pointed tragus. The feet are short and broad and the sole of the foot has a grooved covering, as do the short, thick legs. A well developed calcar is present. The cheekteeth are tritubercular, and the upper molars are very well developed. M. tuberculata do not have a postorbital process. The tongue is partly extensible, with papillae at its tip. (Nowak, 1994; Macdonald, 1984; Lawlor,1979)

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average mass: 23.5 g.

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Ivaldi, F. 1999. "Mystacina tuberculata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mystacina_tuberculata.html
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Francesca Ivaldi, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat
provided by wikipedia EN

The lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata) – pekapeka-tou-poto in Māori – is the only living species of bat in the family Mystacinidae,[1] and is endemic to New Zealand. One of the most terrestrial of bats, it is notable for foraging more on the forest floor than any other bat species. Its population is declining, a result of forest clearance and introduced predators.

Description

New Zealand lesser short-tailed bats are relatively small, being 6 to 7 cm (2.4 to 2.8 in) in head-body length, with a wingspan of 28 to 30 cm (11 to 12 in). Adults weigh 10 to 22 g (0.35 to 0.78 oz) before feeding, although this may increase by as much as 30% after a full night's foraging.[2] One of only two living species of bats in New Zealand, they can be easily distinguished from New Zealand long-tailed bats by the presence of relatively large, pointed ears, prominent nostrils, and by their tails. In the short-tailed bat, the tail is only 12 mm (0.47 in) long, but extends for at least half of that length beyond the edge of the uropatagium, whereas the longer tail of the other species is entirely enclosed within it.[1]

The bat has a long, conical snout, with numerous whiskers, and terminating in large, tubular nostrils. The tongue is long and slender, typically 12 mm (0.47 in) in length, and has a number of hair-like structures at the tip, that aid in feeding on nectar. Another unique distinguishing feature of the species is the presence of small talons at the base of the main claws on both its toes and wings, thought to aid in both crawling and climbing. The bat has very thick fur, which varies from dark brown to mousy-grey, and is slightly paler on the underside of the animal.[1]

Distribution and habitat

Short-tailed bats are found primarily on the North Island of New Zealand, where they inhabit forests from sea level to the tree line at about 1,100 m (3,600 ft). Within the island, at least 9 distinct populations have been identified, with most being located in the central regions.[2] A few isolated populations are known from South Island, including one at Fiordland.[3] Smaller populations have also been identified on Codfish Island and Little Barrier Island.[1]

A colony of around 300 short-tailed bats was also found in the Waiohine Valley of the Tararua Forest Park in the late 1990s. The only known population of short-tailed bats in southern North Island, they may be related to both the volcanic plateau and the southern short-tailed bats. They became isolated during a glacial period in the centre of North Island, and through volcanic activity, more than 90,000 years ago.[4] Pups from this unique and isolated colony, born in captivity, have been transferred to Kapiti Island in an attempt to establish an insurance population in a predator-free environment.

Subspecies

Three subspecies have been named on the basis of their morphological features:[1]

  • M. t. tuberculata (southern short-tailed bat) - Codfish Island, northwest Nelson, and Fiordland
  • M. t. auporica (Kauri Forest short-tailed bat) - Northland and Little Barrier Island
  • M. t. rhyacobia (Volcanic Plateau short-tailed bat) - Northland, central North Island, and Taranaki.

However, genetic analysis of short-tailed bats from across New Zealand has, instead, identified six potential subspecies, with overlapping ranges. These do not clearly match the three generally recognised taxa shown above.[5] A fourth putative subspecies, M. t. robusta was identified in 1984, but was subsequently confirmed as a distinct species, the New Zealand greater short-tailed bat, now believed to be extinct.[1]

Diet

Short-tailed bats are omnivorous and opportunistic, feeding on whatever food is available in their environments. They forage in areas of dense forest and deep leaf litter, and may travel considerable distances from roosting to foraging sites each night. Their wings have a low aspect ratio and low wing loading, suggesting high manoeuvrability and moderate flight speed, suitable both for long travel and foraging close to the ground.[6] They have been reported to eat insects, especially beetles, flies, and moths, as well as flowers, fruit, nectar, and pollen.[1][7]

The bats may be an important pollinator of the wood rose (Dactylanthus taylorii), a threatened parasitic plant which grows on the roots of trees on the forest floor.[8]

Behaviour

Southern short-tailed bats
Southern short-tailed bats (Mystacina tuberculata) in a communal roost tree, on Codfish Island / Whenua Hou, New Zealand.

Short-tailed bats are nocturnal, spending the day roosting in hollow trees. Many bats roost alone, using small cavities in the wood, but colonies of over a hundred individuals are not uncommon. Although they generally use natural cavities or crevices, they have also been reported to chew out burrows within the wood using their sharp incisor teeth. Such burrows consist of hollowed out chambers connected by narrow tunnels up to several metres in length.[9] They typically spend only a few weeks at any given roosting site, before moving on, although individual roosts may be reused repeatedly over the course of several decades.[2]

The bats emerge from their roosts 20 to 150 minutes after sunset, and forage for much of the night. Short-tailed bats spend only around 30% of their foraging time catching insects in the air, typically flying less than 2 m (6 ft 7 in) above the ground,[2] and a further 40% feeding from plants. The remaining 30% is spent hunting on the forest floor,[10] a higher proportion than any other species of bat. To assist with this unusual style of hunting, short-tailed bats are able to fold their wings inside a protective sheath formed from their membranes, and the wings have only a very limited propatagium, making them more flexible and mobile. Movement along the ground is also assisted by strong hind limbs and a robust pelvic girdle, and by the additional talons on their claws.[1]

They hunt their prey using scent, passive hearing, and echolocation. Their main calls have a wide bandwidth and are multiharmonic, with a peak amplitude of 27 to 28 kHz. They also make shorter pulsed, frequency modulated calls.[6] The bats enter torpor in cold weather and stay in their roosts for up to 10 days at a time before emerging to feed.[2] They may also enter daily torpor when roosting alone.[11] However, they are capable of remaining active even in subzero temperatures when necessary.[1]

Reproduction

Short-tailed bats are lek breeders, with males occupying individual mating roosts during the breeding season and using repetitive ultrasonic calls to attract females. The males also mark the entrances to their mating roosts with an oily secretion produced in scent glands on the throat; the oil has a musky odour, and may help to attract the females. Mating most commonly takes place between February and May.[2]

After mating, the embryo enters a state of delayed implantation through the winter, so a single young is born in the summer. Newborn bats are hairless, but otherwise well-developed, and weigh just 5 g (0.18 oz). The permanent teeth erupt at three weeks, and the young are fully furred and able to fly by four weeks of age. They leave the maternal roost at six weeks, and grow rapidly; they are fully grown within three months.[1]

Conservation

The lesser short-tailed bat is listed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation as a "species of highest conservation priority". It is the sole host of the New Zealand batfly, which lives in a symbiotic relationship with it.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Carter, G.G. & Riskin, D.K. (2006). "Mystacina tuberculata". Mammalian Species: Number 790: pp. 1–8. doi:10.1644/790.1..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lloyd, B.D. (2001). "Advances in New Zealand mammalogy 1990– 2000: short-tailed bats". Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 31 (1): 59–81. doi:10.1080/03014223.2001.9517638.
  3. ^ O'Donnell, C.F.J.; et al. (1999). "Rediscovery of short-tailed bats (Mystacina sp.) in Fiordland, New Zealand: preliminary observations of taxonomy, echolocation calls, population size, home range, and habitat use" (PDF). New Zealand Journal of Ecology. 22 (1): 21–30.
  4. ^ "Protecting Waiohine bats in Tararua Forest Park". Department of Conservation. Government of New Zealand. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  5. ^ Lloyd, B.D. (2003). "Intraspecific phylogeny of the New Zealand short-tailed bat Mystacina tuberculata inferred from multiple mitochondrial gene sequences". Systematic Biology. 52 (4): 460–476. doi:10.1080/10635150390218187.
  6. ^ a b Jones, G.; et al. (2003). "Mysterious Mystacina: how the New Zealand short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata) locates insect prey". Journal of Experimental Biology. 206 (23): 4209–4216. doi:10.1242/jeb.00678.
  7. ^ Arkins, A.M. (1999). "Diet and nectarivorous foraging behaviour of the short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata)". Journal of Zoology. 247 (2): 183–187. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1999.tb00982.x.
  8. ^ Platt, John R. (3 October 2012). "Dung from Critically Endangered Kakapo Parrots Could Save Endangered Plant". Scientific American. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  9. ^ Daniel, M.J. (1979). "The New Zealand short-tailed bat Mystacina tuberculata: a review of present knowledge". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 6 (2): 357–370. doi:10.1080/03014223.1979.10428375.
  10. ^ Daniel, M.J. (1976). "Feeding by the short-tailed bat Mystacina tuberculata on fruit and possibly nectar". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 3 (4): 391–398. doi:10.1080/03014223.1976.9517927.
  11. ^ Sedgeley, J.A. (2003). "Roost site selection and roosting behaviour in lesser short-tailed bats (Mystacina tuberculata) in comparison with long-tailed bats (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) in Nothofagus forest, Fiordland". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 30 (2): 227–241. doi:10.1080/03014223.2003.9518341.

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New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat: Brief Summary
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The lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata) – pekapeka-tou-poto in Māori – is the only living species of bat in the family Mystacinidae, and is endemic to New Zealand. One of the most terrestrial of bats, it is notable for foraging more on the forest floor than any other bat species. Its population is declining, a result of forest clearance and introduced predators.

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