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Lesser short tailed bat Mystacina tuberculata
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Uploaded on Aug 1, 2009
The Lesser Short-tailed Bat, Mystacina tuberculata or Pekapeka-tou-poto in Māori, is one of only two species of short-tailed bats in the family Mystacinidae, which is endemic to New Zealand.
It is divided into three sub-species: * the Kauri Forest Short-tailed Bat, found only at two sites in Northland and one on Little Barrier Island. * the Volcanic Plateau Short-tailed Bat, known from Northland, the central North Island and Taranaki. * the Southern Short-tailed Bat, found on Codfish Island and in the northwest Nelson and Fiordland areas.
A colony of around 300 Short-tailed Bats was also found in the Waiohine Valley of the Tararua Forest Park in the late 1990s. The only known population of Short-tailed Bats in the southern North Island, it is thought they are related to both the volcanic plateau and the Southern Short-tailed Bats. They became isolated during a glacial period in the centre of the North Island, and through volcanic activity, more than 90,000 years ago. Pups from this unique and isolated colony, born in captivity, have been transferred to Kapiti Island in an attempt to establish an insurance population in a predator-free environment.
The Lesser Short-tailed Bat is listed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation as a "species of highest conservation priority". It is the sole host of the New Zealand batfly, which lives in a symbiotic relationship with it. * Short-tailed Bats weigh 12 to 15 grams, have large pointed ears, a free tail and are a mousy-grey colour. * Unlike most bats, which catch their prey in the air, the Short-tailed Bat has adapted to ground hunting and is one of the few bats in the world which spends large amounts of time on the forest floor, using its folded wings as "front limbs" for scrambling around. * Short-tailed Bats are found in indigenous forests where they roost, singly or communally, in hollow trees. The bats go into a "torpor" in cold weather and stay in their roosts. They wake up as soon as the weather becomes warmer. * Thought to be a lek breeder, i.e. males compete for traditional "singing" posts and "sing" for a female. * Its diet consists of insects, fruit, nectar and pollen and it is thought to be an important pollinator of the wood rose (Dactylanthus taylorii), a threatened parasitic plant which grows on the roots of trees on the forest floor.
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