A Survey of the Distribution, Seasonal Activity and Roost Sites of New Zealand Bats
- Ecology Division, DSIR, Private Bag, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
- Entomology Department, Lincoln College, Canterbury, New Zealand
The lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina t. tuberculata) has been found in 18 locations in indigenous forest in North Island since 1961, mainly in Northland kauri forest (including Little Barrier Island), on the volcanic plateau (including Tongariro National Park), Urewera National Park and in Tararua Range. In South Island this bat has only been reported once since 1961, in North West Nelson Forest Park, and must be regarded as endangered. It is present also on Codfish Island, but is thought to have become extinct on Big South Cape and Solomon Islands about 1967.
The greater short-tailed bat (Mystacina t. robusta) survived in historical times only on two rat-free islands off southwest Stewart Island, Big South Cape and Solomon Islands, where it was sympatric with the lesser short-tailed bat, until the ship rat (Rattus rattus) irruption in the early 1960s. Classified in the Red Data Book of New Zealand in the "indeterminate" category, this bat was last positively recorded in 1965 and is now believed to be extinct on its last two known refuges.
The long-tailed bat (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) is widely distributed in a variety of indigenous and man— made habitats in both North and South Islands and is the only common species of bat in New Zealand. It is also found on Little Barrier Island, probably on Great Barrier Island, and is present on Kapiti Island and on the northeast corner of Stewart Island.
A major advance of this. survey over that reported by Dwyer in 1962 is that far more bat sightings and positively identified specimens are now available for analysis. This collection of distribution records now gives a clearer understanding of the distribution of the New Zealand bats than was possible in the earlier survey.
Seasonal activity, roost sites, predation and competition for food by introduced rats, and the conservation status of the bat fauna, are discussed.