Population density of the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis), local diet composition and availability of foraging habitats


Andreas Zahn, Department Biologie II, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Großhaderner Str. 2 D-82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany.
Email: Andreas.Zahn@iiv.de


We studied the regional variation in population density of Myotis myotis (Borkhausen 1797) in south-eastern Bavaria, Germany, and its relations to diet composition and the availability of potential foraging habitats. We monitored colony size and juvenile mortality from 1991 to 2003, conducted faecal analyses in 1993 and determined land-use patterns around colonies. The numbers of individuals counted in the nursery colonies showed only small fluctuations over the years. However, data on colony size demonstrated a pronounced regional variation. Epigeic arthropods, mainly Carabidae, were the most important prey. The diet included prey taxa of forest as well as grassland habitats. The percentage of those prey taxa in the diet that originated in grassland managed with different intensity varied according to the availability of these potential foraging habitats around the nursery roosts. The calculated population density of the bats was positively correlated to forest area and especially to the area of mixed forest around the nursery roosts. Our results indicate that the availability of foraging habitats is a limiting factor for local population densities in the greater mouse-eared bat.