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Noctule

Nyctalus noctula (Schreber 1774) Noctule

Hebrew name: רמשן לילי, ramsan leily

Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae

Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: EN (B) – Endangered

Distribution area: Is apparently found in the upper Jordan Valley (principally the Hula Valley), the Upper Galilee, the Golan and Mt. Hermon. In Europe the species has been categorized VU, since the population is decreasing in many areas due to loss of roosting sites and food sources (Stebbings 1988).

Historic distribution: Festa (1894) reported a colony in Jericho (in Makin 1977). Makin (1977) did not find the species in his 1970s survey. Harrison & Makin (1988) reported finding a noctule in the Hula in the 1980s.

Typical Habitat: Deep caves, crevices in humid cliffs and holes in large trees near water. Flies high, diving to catch large flying insects.

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

Population Size: The noctule population in Israel seems to be growing! The species was not known in Israel from the beginning of the 20th century until the late 1970s. It is known as a migrant (up to 1600 km., Macdonald & Barrett 1993). Apparently the species existed in the country but was not found until the 1980s (possibly because past data was collected principally on cave-roosting bats). The Hula colony is similar to a typical European breeding colony with 8 breeding groups, each with a few individuals (Spoelstra 1997/8, pers. comm.). The breeding colony in the southern Golan is large compared to Europe, and comprises several hundred bats.

Fluctuations in Population Size: The population in Israel has apparently grown during the last twenty years.

Isolation between Subpopulations: There is apparently no fragmentation since the noctule is a good flyer.

Necessary Steps for Species Preservation:
1. Reducing insecticide use in agriculture.
2. Protecting trees and sites used for roosting, wintering and breeding by the species.