The New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat is one of the most terrestrial bats, foraging on the forest floor much more frequently than any other species.
They are nocturnal, spending the day roosting in colonies, in old hollow trees. These old-growth roost trees are very important to this species, meaning they are very prone to forest clearance by humans. Further threats include predation by introduced rats and stoats, with an introduction of rats on the southern Titi Islands leading to the local extinction of the New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat. The threat rats play was really shown with the removal of rats on Codfish Island, which led to an increase of bat numbers. The lesser short-tailed bat is listed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation as a ‘species of highest conservation priority’.
- Order: Chiroptera
- Family: Mystacinidae
- Population: 30,000
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 6-7cm
- Weight: 10-22g
Endemic to New Zealand, previously widespread it now covers 30% of its historic range. . Large populations of this species are also present on the offshore islands of Little Barrier Island and Codfish Island.
Habitat and Ecology
New Zealand lesser short-tailed bats inhabit old-growth temperate forest, with large trees available for colonial roosts, abundant epiphytes and deep leaf-litter. They also use caves for roosting. They are primarily insectivores, but they also consume nectar, pollen and fruit.