species of the week # 43 – parti-coloured bat

The conspicuous parti-colured bat is regularly found in Rhineland-Palatinate only as a visitor during the mating season in winter. In summer it is found only extremely rarely. However, it can undertake long migrations. Over 1000 km have already been documented.

Distribution status  Threatened with extinction
Residual occurrence Winter visitor along the Moselle, in the Hunsrück, in the Palatinate Forest
Last sighting in Rhineland-Palatinate current
Habitat  High buildings near water
Threat Insecticides, wind turbines

Parti-coloured bats got their name because of their strikingly colored fur. Their hairs are bicolored. While the base of the hair is colored black, the tips of the hair on the dorsal fur have a whitish or silvery cast.
It hunts throughout the night, at higher altitudes about 10-20 m above the ground. The species has been recorded mostly in landscapes rich in water bodies, where its hunting grounds are probably located. A main use of above-ground structures can be assumed. There it lives mostly hidden deep in crevices. In large cities such as Cologne, they are found mainly on high-rise buildings. The animals spend the winter in rock crevices and underground hiding places.
The causes of endangerment of the bats are very complex; however, one of the most important is the use of insecticides. This not only deprives the bat of food, but the toxins also accumulate in the fat tissue of the bat, up to life-threatening concentrations. This was especially the case in the sixties, when DDT was still used. More recent studies have shown the risk potential of, among other things, metamorphosis inhibitors in fruit growing.
In addition, parti-coloured bats are particularly affected by collisions with and disturbance by wind turbines due to their very high flight altitude and preference for tall buildings. According to bat experts, avoiding sites with high bat activity or shutting down wind turbines during periods of increased bat activity are the only measures suitable for avoiding or reducing impact casualties. Other options, such as scaring away animals in the rotor area through acoustic disturbance sounds, do not help.

Policy Need:
– Reduce insecticides.
– Ensure accurate siting assessments for wind turbines
– Ensure long-term monitoring

To the other species of the week here

Picture from Mnolf – Photo taken in Rum, Tirol, Austria, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=299549