Myotis blythii (Tomes 1857) Lesser Mouse-Eared Bat
Hebrew name: נשפון מצוי, nishpon matzuy
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: CR (A4a,C) - Critically Endangered
Distribution area: During the 1990s the species was known from only one cave in the Upper Galilee (and even there only a few individuals), a cave in the Golan where less than 30 bats were counted and from isolated individuals on Mt. Hermon. The species is categorized EN in Europe because of colonies eliminated as a result of disturbance to roosting and wintering caves and deliberate bat killing (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 hundreds of bats in the Mediterranean region in Israel (fringes of the Hula Valley, Tiv’on, Herzliyya and caves in the Upper Galilee) in the early 1940s (1941-42), when the species was very common. In later years (1946-47) Dor reported only a few dozen individuals in those same caves. Makin (1977) found the species in the 1970s in only three sites: on the edge of the Lower Galilee, in Tiv’on and on the Carmel.
Typical Habitat: Deep, dark caves. Forages in humid Mediterraniean woodland (Moskin 1993).
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Insecticide use in agricultural areas.
2. Human visitors to roosting and wintering caves.
Factors that led to population decline in the past:
1. In the 1940s and 1950s: bat collection by scientists.
2. From the 1960s to the mid-80s: poisoning by activity to eliminate fruit bats in shared caves.
Population Size: Less than 100 in only two known caves.
Fluctuations in Population Size: The population was apparently seriously affected during the 1940s and continued to decline during the 1960s and 1970s.
Isolation between Subpopulations: There seems to be fragmentation between the two known colonies.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation: Protecting roosting and breeding caves.