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Greater Mouse-Eared Bat

Myotis myotis (Borkhausen 1797) Greater Mouse-Eared Bat
Hebrew name: נשפון גדול, nishpon gadol

Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae

Global Threat: NT – Near Threatened
Regional Threat: CR (D) – Critically Endangered

Distribution area: Only isolated individuals were found in the 1990s in two Galilee caves: one in the Lower Galilee and one in the Upper Galilee. Additional individuals were occasionally observed on Mt. Hermon (over Berekhat Man). The species has been categorized EN in Europe (Stebbings 1988).

Historic distribution: There is some overlapping in forearm length and weight between the greater and lesser mouse-eared bats, which makes species determination from past data difficult. Dor (in Makin 1977) reported isolated individuals in the 1940s, with no site notation. Makin (1977) found the species in the 1970s in the Lower Galilee (Yodfat), but since the specimens were not measured it is not clear whether they were greater or lesser mouse-eared bats. In 1985 the species was found in a cave in the Lower Galilee (Frumkin et al. 1987). 

Typical Habitat: Small, damp caves.

Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Insecticide use in agricultural areas.
2. Human visitors to roosting and wintering caves.

In the past: From the 1960s to the mid-80s insectivorous bats were harmed by activity to eliminate fruit bats in shared caves.

Population Size: A few dozen. Less than 20 were found in one cave and only a few individuals in another one.

Fluctuations in Population Size: The species was probably never common in Israel, and currently it is on the verge of extinction.

Isolation between Subpopulations: Three small colonies far from each other.

Necessary Steps for Species Preservation: Protecting roosting and breeding caves used by this species.