Microbats : March 2021

Along with the arboreal trap, we also set a harp trap to try and catch small bats. The first night we were successful with two different species caught. Identification of species is by no means easy but one of the postgraduates helping run the course reached out on iNaturalist and our best guesses are what we will go with. So the first one was a Lesser Long-Eared Bat (Nyctophlius geoffroyi), a very common microbat with a range across Australia excepting the Queensland coastline. Distinguishing feature is a Y-shaped groove above their nose.

The first thing that hits you is how small these little guys are, the photos here will give you an idea what I mean. At this point I will mention that people working with bats require vaccination against bat lyssavirus, so only the course organisers were allowed to handle them and then with suitable gloves.

Lesser Long-Eared Bat

The second species caught was the Eastern False Pipistrelle (Falsistrellus tasmaniensis). The notched ear is the chief distinguishing mark for id’ing.

Eastern False Pipistrelle

Both these species rely on their sonar to catch their prey and navigate their way, so they have large ears to help with that. The harp trap is placed in paths between trees where the bats are likely to fly, and strands of fishing line hang vertically down. The bat may blunder into these and slip down into the trough below where they are captured. The second night we changed location for the trap and got nothing so not infallible.

Harp trap

Mammal watching total = 31

Leading photo copyright charliev (iNaturalist)

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