Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Mammals

Lesser mouse-eared bat (Myotis blythii)

Description

Myotis blythii is relatively large in comparison to other bats. Its long, narrow ears, thin snout and broad wingspan can be used to identify it. In this species, female bats are larger than male bats. In terms of coloration, Myotis blythii has a different colored upper body when compared to its underbelly. The upper body is a black/brown color whereas the underbelly is lighter in color and is grey/off-white.

Habitat

Myotis blythii colonies can usually be found occupying underground sites such as caves or mines. As well as this, they will reside in old buildings such as castles and churches, or holes in trees. Foraging occurs in grasslands such as gardens and farms.

Diet

The hunting method of the lesser mouse-eared bat is to fly slowly over grasslands until it spots its prey, which it subsequently catches. It feeds on insects residing in grasslands such as the Bush Cricket. Bush Crickets can be identified by Myotis blythii by listening for their vocal calls.

Protection Status

The bat is currently listed as "least concern" on the IUCN Red List. However construction noise has been an issue in Southern Spain where populations have been disturbed and have subsequently decreased in size. Changes in land management, alongside agricultural pollution are also detrimental to the species.

Interesting facts

Echolocating bats are thought to be more vulnerable to aerial predation than small insectivorous birds because most bats are relatively slow fliers and rely on echolocation rather than on vision making them easier to ambush from above and behind.

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