DOI: 10.3390/ani14010126 ISSN: 2076-2615

Bats at an Altitude above 2000 m on Pirin Mountain, Bulgaria

Heliana Dundarova, Vasil V. Popov
  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology

The study describes a pilot survey on bats in the highest areas of Pirin Mountain. The methods included examining subfossil bone remains, mist-netting, and recording echolocation calls. The study was conducted in August 2002 and 2013 and from 2019 to 2020. While in general, bat diversity tends to decrease with increasing altitude due to harsher environmental conditions, the present study, despite a short period, reveals high diversity. Twenty species, more than half of the Bulgarian bat fauna, were detected. The recording and analysis of vocal signatures proved to be the best way to inventory bat diversity. At least 13 species were detected by this method. Vespertilio murinus and Tadarida teniotis together make up more than 60% of all reliably determined echolocation sequences. Significant activity was found for Myotis myotis/blythii, Plecotus auritus, Eptesicus serotinus, and E. nilssonii. The registration of the latter species is of considerable faunistic interest. It was previously only known from a single specimen at one location in the country. The sex and age structure of the bat assemblage suggests that it is likely a swarming assemblage. The area is the highest swarming location in Europe. The results provide valuable information on bat ecology and behaviour, which can be used to inform management and protection efforts.

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