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Long-Fingered Bat

Myotis capaccinii (Bonaparte 1837) Long-Fingered Bat

Hebrew name: נשפון גדות, nishpon gadot

Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae

Global Threat: VU (A2c) – Vulnerable
Regional Threat: VU (B) – Vulnerable

Distribution area: This is the commonest Myotis bat in northern Israel, and the only surviving species of this genus on the Carmel. The long-fingered bat is common in the Mediterranean region: northern Samaria, Carmel, Galilee, Golan and Mt. Hermon.

Historic distribution: Dor reported the species observed from the Hula Valley, Upper Galilee and Carmel in the 1940s (in Makin 1977). Harrison (1964) described breeding colonies from the Lower Galilee, Tiberias and the Carmel (in Makin 1977). Makin (1977) reported three caves in the Carmel with hundreds of bats, one cave from the Upper Galilee with circa 700 bats and isolated individuals seen in Tiv’on and Tiberias in the 1970s.

Typical Habitat: Deep, humid caves and sometimes, in man-made caves. Forages over water (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: The species ranges over and area of about 3000 km2 and is known from two caves in the Carmel with a total of up to 2000 bats, and three caves in the Galilee with no more than 4000 bats. The total population in Israel is estimated at less than 10,000. This estimate is based on censuses using bat detectors, but since the long-fingered bat cannot be distinguished by calls from the long-winged bat, the division was calculated according to trapping proportions found in mist nets.

Fluctuations in Population Size: The species distribution area has apparently not changed significantly, but the population is now distributed in a smaller number of caves, which increases its vulnerability.

Isolation between Subpopulations: None apparent.

Necessary Steps for Species Preservation: Protection of roosting and breeding caves.