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Figure 12.7: Change in distribution of the lesser short-tailed bat

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Short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata)

Photo of a short-tailed bat.

There are three subspecies of the lesser short-tailed bat: the northern short-tailed bat, which is nationally endangered; the central short-tailed bat, which is range restricted; and the southern short-tailed bat. The Tararua Ranges population of the southern short-tailed bat is nationally critical and its southern populations are nationally endangered.

The bats live in the indigenous forests where they roost in hollow trees. They forage for extended periods on the forest floor, using their folded wings as 'front limbs'. Their diet consists of insects, fruit, nectar, and pollen, and they are an important pollinator of the plant dactylanthus.

Pressures include introduced predators such as rats, stoats, and cats as well as browsers and wasps. Some of their habitat is threatened by selective logging of large trees, which results in a loss of roost sites.

The management of the bats is guided by a recovery plan that includes protecting their roost sites from destruction or disturbance, introducing predator control programmes at important sites, and monitoring key populations. Attempts are being made to establish 'insurance populations' of short-tailed bats in predator-free environments in case they do not survive in their present habitats. Captive husbandry and breeding have also been used.


Data source and photo: Courtesy of the Department of Conservation.

Text description of figure

This figure shows the distribution of the lesser short-tailed bat on a map of New Zealand: Its estimated pre-human distribution, during the 1970s and current distribution. It shows that its range has contracted and it now occupies about 5 per cent of its original range.