New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2006) 30(2): 267- 272

Non-native pollen found in short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata) guano from the central North Island

Short Communication
P. G. Peterson 1,*
A. W. Robertson 2
B. Lloyd 3
S. McQueen 4
  1. Landcare Research, Private Bag 11052, Palmerston North, New Zealand
  2. Ecology Department, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand
  3. Department of Conservation, Private Box 10420, Wellington, New Zealand
  4. Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 5244, Dunedin, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

We analysed pollen in short-tailed bat guano samples from Rangataua Forest and from guano and pollen found in bat holding bags used in the Kaimanawa Range, central North Island. Fifty seven percent of the pollen from Rangataua was from a previously unrecorded source and was tentatively identified as Trachycarpus fortunei (Chinese windmill palm). The significant remaining pollen was identified as Collospermum (15%) and Nothofagus (14%) from Rangataua, and Collospermum (90%) and Nothofagus (6%) from Kaimanawa. While the presence of Collospermum from both sites is consistent with previous work, pollen from T. fortunei, an exotic palm growing near Rangataua Forest, has not previously been found in association with short-tailed bats. Despite nocturnal surveillance with automated bat detectors and infra-red video cameras, we failed to confirm bat visitation to these palms. Nothofagus is wind-pollinated and pollen extracted from samples taken from both sites is probably wind-borne contamination. A collation of data from all available studies on the pollen found associated with short-tailed bats throughout New Zealand reveals that flowers from just four plant groups appear to be regularly used by bats: Collospermum spp., Knightia excelsa, Metrosideros spp. and, apparently, T. fortunei.