Publication details

Aggregational response of bats during forest pest emergence



Year of publication 2019
Type Conference abstract
Description Among arthropods, moths (Lepidoptera) are major agricultural and forest pests in many parts of the world and even in Europe they represent majority of lepidopterans. Many of them are of great economic importance as pests of crops, horticultural plants or stored products and woollens. Our focus is on two complexes of sibling moths, forest lepidopteran pests Operophtera brumata and Erannis defoliaria during their spring emergence of caterpillars. These species are known for their high foliage consumption. We hypotheses that bats will switch to more abundant emerging prey. We sampled caterpillars during spring and adult stages in autumn to determine level of infestation. We establish two infested sites and one control and monitored fight activity of bats between sunset and sunrise from 15th of April to 25th of May 2017, when the pest numbers peaked. Foraging activity of bats,i.e., two gleaning bats (Myotis nattereri and Myotis bechsteinii) and two species that use both gleaning and aerial hawking (Plecotus auritus and Plecotus austriacus) was assessed by bat detectors. On both infested sites we found signifcant increase in fight activity of all studied bat species during caterpillar emergence, we did not detect any signifcant increase of activity on control site. Based on our results we conclude that bats aggregated at sites with high numbers of pests and thus may contribute to pest control.This project was financially supported as a part of a specific university research project at Masaryk University (MUNI/A/1436/2018).

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