Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Mammals

Lesser noctule (Nyctalus leisleri)

Description

Nyctalus leisleri is a medium sized bat that has red-brown fur on its back, and lighter brown fur on its underside. Individuals usually measure between 83-113 mm and weigh between 11 and 20 g. The distinctive mushroom shaped tragus of the lesser noctule is useful when trying to identify it. Nyctalus leisleri has dark brown coloration on its face, ears and wing membranes. Juveniles are also darker than adults

Habitat

Nyctalus leisleri are generally found in woodland and forests. This is because they require hollowed out trees to make their roosts in. They also hibernate in these trees so forests make an ideal habitat. Because lesser noctule bats require hollow trees, they prefer ancient forest and woodland. Although less commonly, Nyctalus leisleri is also found in areas of agriculture and suburban areas. When residing in these areas, it uses buildings for roosts. The lesser noctule bat is a migratory species and will therefore change its habitat at different times of year.

Diet

Lesser noctule bats are insectivorous and use echolocation to find their prey. Specific diet of an individual will depend on its location/habitat at the time of foraging. Flying insects such as moths and beetles make up a large part of these bats diet. Nyctalus leisleri is a crepuscular species and therefore their main feeding times are at dawn and dusk.

Protection Status

The bat is currently listed as "least concern" on the IUCN Red List. Despite this habitat destruction is a threat to the lesser noctule bat population. Felling of hollow trees destroys roost sites, whilst also altering the distribution of the bats insect prey. Pesticides and insecticides have also severely reduced the amount of insect prey available to Nyctalus leisleri.

Interesting facts

The species was named to honor the naturalist Johann Philipp Achilles Leisler, who was known for describing several new bird species with this work he, such as the Temminck sandpiper (Calidris temminckii) Furthermore, he described the miniature sandpiper (Calidris minuta) and the short-toed lark (Calandrella brachydactyla).

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