Browsing by Subject "Chiroptera"

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  • Rocha, Ricardo; López-Baucells, Adrià; Fernandez-Llamazares, Alvaro (2021)
    Although elusive due to their mostly nocturnal behavior, bats have fascinated humans for millennia. From their ubiquitous presence in Mayan mythology to being regarded as symbols of good fortune in the Middle-to-Late Qing Dynasty of China, bats have been both feared and celebrated across cultures from all over the world. The research articles included in this collection illustrate the myriad ways in which bats and humans have interacted over time, highlighting how these airborne mammals have been associated with death, witchcraft, vampires, malevolent spirits, and evil in some cultures, while, in other places-particularly across the Asia-Pacific region-they have been largely linked to luck and good fortune and used as spiritual totems. This collection also showcases how multiple cultural groups, particularly across the tropics, have traditionally hunted bats for human consumption and traditional medicine, and used their guano as a fertilizer. In times of rapid global change and when bats are often associated with zoonotic disease risks, a trend that has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, this special issue constitutes one significant step towards a richer understanding of bat-human inter-relationships. The lives of humans and bats have been closely intertwined over time and our collection celebrates how bat diversity supports the biocultural richness of our planet.
  • Kivisto, Ilkka; Tidenberg, Eeva-Maria; Lilley, Thomas; Suominen, Kati; Forbes, Kristian M.; Vapalahti, Olli; Huovilainen, Anita; Sironen, Tarja (2020)
    Coronaviruses (CoVs) represent a global public health threat, exemplified by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreaks. Using fecal samples collected from five bat species between 2014 and 2016 in Finland and RT-PCR, RT-qPCR, and NGS, we identified CoVs in 10 of 79 (13%) samples, including two novel bat species-CoV relationships. Phylogenetic analysis revealed Alphacoronavirus and Betacoronavirus species clustered among previously identified bat and human viruses. These results expand the known northern distribution and host species range of bat-borne CoVs.
  • Lohi, Saska (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Bats can act as potential vectors for various zoonotic diseases and other pathogens. Therefore their interactions with people should be examined to mitigate potential risks. Bats are small flying mammals and hide in small crevices during daylight hours, making them difficult to observe. Consequently, they have a capacity to “hitchhike” on ships to be dispersed over large distances. This study focused on anthropogenic unintentional bat translocations, i.e. hitchhiking bats. The study area is the Great Lakes region in North America. Using a web-based questionnaire survey, I asked the public about the frequency of bat-human encounters on ships, their nature, and perceived risks and incidents. I found that bats are commonly seen by people working on ships at the Great Lakes. Bats do not cause trouble other than scaring people. Based on photographic evidence, at least one bat was seen on a ship outside of its native range. Therefore ships might act as vectors, helping bats to disperse to new areas. This might provide pathways for pathogens to spread along, from bats to bats or from bats to humans. The risks related to hitchhiking bats seem to be rather limited. Rabies risk is the most obvious, but no cases of people getting rabies infection from hitchhiking bats were acknowledged. The possibility of ships translocating bats infected with Pseudogymnoascus destructans remains unknown. This study demonstrates how by engaging the public it is possible to gather novel scientific knowledge, and deepen our understanding about the relationship between man and wildlife. There are numerous hidden ways of how people interact with animal species. This study illuminates one of these ways, but many more are yet to be studied.
  • Lilley, Thomas Mikael; Anttila, Jani Valtteri; Ruokolainen, Lasse (2018)
    White-nose syndrome (WNS), affecting multiple North American bat species during the hibernation period, is a highly pathogenic disease caused by the psychrophilic fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). Because the fungal pathogen persists in the hibernation site environment independently of the hosts, previous theory on spatial disease dynamics cannot predict WNS epidemics. However, the ability to understand factors contributing to the spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in North America is crucial to the management of infected and susceptible bat populations as well as the conservation of threatened and endangered bat species. Utilizing recent theory on environmental opportunistic pathogens, we modelled the effect of (a) landscape clustering, (b) environmental conditions in hibernacula and (c) microbial competition on the spread of WNS. We used available, already published data to construct and parameterize our model, which takes into account the spatial distribution of hibernation sites, temperature conditions in both the outside ambient and hibernation site environment, bat population dynamics, dispersal and infection by the pathogen, which also has its host-independent dynamics with the environment. We also consider the effect of outside-host competition between the pathogen and other micro-organisms on spatial disease dynamics. Our model suggests that pathogen loads accumulate in poorly connected hibernacula at short host dispersal, which can help found the epidemic. In contrast, invasion of the landscape is most successful at long host dispersal distances, with homogenous hibernation site distribution and heterogeneous between-hibernation site temperatures. Also, increasing the mean temperature across hibernacula increases fungal growth rate, leading to higher disease prevalence and faster invasion rate. Increasing spatial heterogeneity in hibernaculum temperatures results in the formation of disease hotspots in warmer hibernacula, facilitating more effective spread of the disease in the landscape. Cold-adapted competing microbes can prevent invasion, and therefore, overwintering in cold hibernacula increases probability of host survival. Sites that were suboptimal for overwintering prior to WNS may have importance in preventing local extirpations. Although the model is tailored for WNS, due to pressing need for results that can assist in planning conservation measures, these novel results can be broadly applied to other environmentally transmitted diseases. A is available for this article.
  • Suutari, Miina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Even though bats have no specialized predators in the temperate zone, they are still predated on. In fact, 11% of their annual mortality is caused by avian predators, especially owls. Bats are particularly vulnerable at emergence from their roost because this behaviour is very predictable. Because a successful predation event is mortal, it would be expected that bats need antipredatory responses to avoid it. The time and focus for these responses need to be shared with foraging in a way that maximizes survival. I studied antipredatory responses of bats in two settings: 1. during roost emergence and 2. during foraging at tawny owl territories and at places where there have been no tawny owl sightings. I collected acoustic data from 24 roosts and 11 foraging grounds for 10-13 nights. The roost emergence data was collected with the help of citizen science. Two controlled predation threats, recorded tawny owl calls and nestling sounds, were used. Nestling sounds were only played during roost emergence. In both tests music and silence were used as controls. Owl calls, music or tawny owl territory have no effect on bat presence when they are foraging. However, bats alter their emergence time and leave over 20 minutes later when tawny owl calls are played outside the roost. There is no difference in exit time when music or nestling sounds are played. These results show that bats have antipredatory responses. They also suggest that bats may be able to recognize high-risk situations and allocate their behaviour accordingly or that they place higher importance on foraging than avoiding predation.
  • Lopez-Baucells, Adria; Rocha, Ricardo; Andriatafika, Zo; Tojosoa, Tafita; Kemp, James; Forbes, Kristian M.; Cabeza, Mar (2017)
    Humanised landscapes are causing population declines and even extinctions of wildlife, whereas a limited number of species are adapting to the new niches and resources within these modified habitats. Synanthropy is widespread among many vertebrates and often causes co-habitation conflicts between humans and wildlife species. Bats often roost in anthropogenic structures, and especially in the tropics, mitigation of human-bat conflicts arising from co-habitation is hampered by a paucity of research focusing on roost preferences. We assessed roost selection by bats in villages around Ranomafana National Park, eastern Madagascar. Ten villages were surveyed, with bats occupying 21 of the 180 evaluated buildings. Of those, 17 were public buildings harbouring large molossid colonies. Although beneficial ecosystem services provided by bats are well-known, several cases of colony eviction were noted, mostly due to unwanted co-habitation. Bat preference was driven by the type of building, its height and a lack of fire use by the inhabitants. Colonies were mainly found under metal sheets within large empty chambers, whereas only isolated bats were detected in the roofs of traditional cabins. Temperatures up to 50 degrees C were recorded inside a roost, representing one of the highest temperatures recorded for an African maternity roost. Molossidae bats appear to have found a suitable alternative to their native roosts in hollow, old and tall trees in pristine forests, which are becoming rare in Madagascar. This suggests that human-bat interactions in Madagascar will likely increase alongside rural development and the loss of primary forest habitats. Shifting to modern construction methods while combining traditional techniques with proper roof sealing could prevent the establishment of bat colonies in undesired locations, whereas co-habitation conflicts could alternatively be minimised by reducing direct interaction with humans. In light of our results, we urge caution with bat evictions, and greater attention when introducing modern building practices, often supported by foreign initiatives, to poor rural communities in developing countries.
  • Ferreira, Diogo F.; Rocha, Ricardo; Lopez-Baucells, Adria; Farneda, Fabio Z.; Carreiras, Joao M. B.; Palmeirim, Jorge M.; Meyer, Christoph F. J. (2017)
    Seasonality causes fluctuations in resource availability, affecting the presence and abundance of animal species. The impacts of these oscillations on wildlife populations can be exacerbated by habitat fragmentation. We assessed differences in bat species abundance between the wet and dry season in a fragmented landscape in the Central Amazon characterized by primary forest fragments embedded in a secondary forest matrix. We also evaluated whether the relative importance of local vegetation structure versus landscape characteristics (composition and configuration) in shaping bat abundance patterns varied between seasons. Our working hypotheses were that abundance responses are species as well as season specific, and that in the wet season, local vegetation structure is a stronger determinant of bat abundance than landscape-scale attributes. Generalized linear mixed-effects models in combination with hierarchical partitioning revealed that relationships between species abundances and local vegetation structure and landscape characteristics were both season specific and scale dependent. Overall, landscape characteristics were more important than local vegetation characteristics, suggesting that landscape structure is likely to play an even more important role in landscapes with higher fragment-matrix contrast. Responses varied between frugivores and animalivores. In the dry season, frugivores responded more to compositional metrics, whereas during the wet season, local and configurational metrics were more important. Animalivores showed similar patterns in both seasons, responding to the same group of metrics in both seasons. Differences in responses likely reflect seasonal differences in the phenology of flowering and fruiting between primary and secondary forests, which affected the foraging behavior and habitat use of bats. Management actions should encompass multiscale approaches to account for the idiosyncratic responses of species to seasonal variation in resource abundance and consequently to local and landscape scale attributes.
  • Kivistö, Ilkka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Lepakot ovat suuri, monimuotoinen ja ekologisesti merkittävä nisäkäslahko. Viime vuosikymmenien aikana ne ovat paljastuneet myös merkittävien zoonottisten taudinaiheuttajien kantajiksi. Suomessa esiintyy kolmetoista lepakkolajia, joista suurin osa esiintyy täällä levinneisyysalueensa pohjoislaidalla ja joiden kantamista taudinaiheuttajista on tehty vielä hyvin vähän tutkimuksia. Tutkielmassani selvitän korona- ja paramyksovirusten esiintymistä eteläisen Suomen lepakoilla vuosina 2013-2016. Lisäksi pyrin kerätyn aineiston perusteella selvittämään, onko näytteitä luovuttaneiden lepakoiden iällä, näytteiden keruukuukaudella tai näytteiden keruualueella vaikutusta löydettyjen virusten esiintyvyyteen. Aineistona käytettiin muiden tutkimusprojektien yhteydessä lepakoilta kerättyjä uloste- ja anaalipyyhkäisynäytteitä sekä lepakoiden päivehtimispaikoilta kerättyjä ulostenäytteitä. Näytteistä eristettiin RNA ja ne seulottiin koronaviruksia ja paramyksoviruksia tunnistavilla ja optimoiduilla kvantitatiivisilla käänteistranskriptio- PCR-menetelmillä (RT-qPCR) ja löydökset varmistettiin tavallisilla käänteistranskriptio-PCR-menetelmillä (RT-PCR). Jälkimmäisistä reaktioista saadut tuotteet myös sekvensoitiin. Ulostenäytteiden seulonnan tuloksista kertyneestä aineistosta tehtiin tilastolliset analyysit yleistetyillä lineaarisilla sekamalleilla, joissa vastemuuttujana käytettiin viruksen esiintymistä ja mallin muuttujina näytteen luovuttaneen lepakon ikäryhmää ja lajia, näytteen keräyskuukautta ja eliömaakuntaa, josta näyte oli kerätty. Mallien satunnaistekijöinä käytettiin näytteiden keräyskuntaa tai näytteiden keräysvuotta. Sekvenssiaineistosta tehtiin fylogeneettiset analyysit käyttäen suurimman todennäköisyyden (Maximum Likelihood) menetelmää ja Bayesilaista menetelmää, joiden tuloksina saatiin kaksi fylogeneettista puuta. Neljän vuoden aineistosta todettiin yhteensä 18 lepakkoyksilöä, jotka kantoivat koronaviruksia, mutta paramyksoviruksia ei aineistosta löydetty. Tilastolliseen tarkasteluun hyväksyttiin 77 ulostenäytettä, joista 13 oli positiivisia koronaviruksille. Anaalipyyhkäisynäytteistä kerättiin 38 kappaletta ja näistä 5 oli positiivisia koronaviruksille. Päivehtimispaikoilta kerättyjä ulostenäytteitä tutkittiin 28 kappaleitta ja näistä 4 oli koronaviruspositiivisia. Koronaviruksia löydettiin Varsinais-Suomen, Uudenmaan, Etelä-Pohjanmaan ja Pohjois-Savon eliömaantieteellisiltä alueilta. Uloste- ja anaalipyyhkäisynäytteiden perusteella koronaviruksia esiintyy Suomessa pohjanlepakoilla, isoviiksisiipoilla, vesisiipoilla ja viiksisiipoilla. Tutkielmassa esitellään ensimmäinen pohjanlepakon beetakoronaviruslöytö. Tämä virus ryhmittyy fylogeneettisissa puissa samaan haaraan muiden saman lepakkosuvun kantamien beetakoronavirusten kanssa ja on samalla melko läheistä sukua MERS-koronavirukselle. Tutkielmassa esitellään myös ensimmäinen isoviiksisiipan koronaviruslöytö, joka fylogeneettisten analyysien perusteella ryhmittyy samaan fylogeneettisen puun haaraan luxemburgilaisen ruskosiipan alfakoronaviruksen kanssa. Eniten koronaviruksia löydettiin vesisiipoilta, jotka suurimmalta osin ryhmittyivät samaan fylogeneettisen puun haaraan. Merenkurkussa sijaitsevasta Mustasaaren kunnasta kerätystä vesisiipan ulostenäytteestä löydetty sekvenssi kuitenkin sijoittui erilleen muista suomalaisista sekvensseistä ja eteläisestä Euroopasta todettujen sekvenssien joukkoon, mikä voi viitata tämän alueen lepakkopopulaation ja sen kantamien virusten levinneen Suomeen läntistä reittiä. Tutkielman tulokset luovat hyvän pohjan jatkotutkimuksille, joissa voidaan selvittää virusten tarkempaa esiintyvyyttä sekä niiden tarkempia ominaisuuksia.
  • Vesterinen, Eero Juhani; Puisto, Anna; Blomberg, Anna; Lilley, Thomas Mikael (2018)
    Differences in diet can explain resource partitioning in apparently similar, sympatric species. Here, we analyzed 1,252 fecal droppings from five species (Eptesicus nilssonii, Myotis brandtii, M. daubentonii, M. mystacinus, and Plecotus auritus) to reveal their dietary niches using fecal DNA metabarcoding. We identified nearly 550 prey species in 13 arthropod orders. Two main orders (Diptera and Lepidoptera) formed the majority of the diet for all species, constituting roughly 80%–90% of the diet. All five species had different dietary assemblages. We also found significant differences in the size of prey species between the bat species. Our results on diet composition remain mostly unchanged when using either read counts as a proxy for quantitative diet or presence–absence data, indicating a strong biological pattern. We conclude that although bats share major components in their ecology (nocturnal life style, insectivory, and echolocation), species differ in feeding behavior, suggesting bats may have distinctive evolutionary strategies. Diet analysis helps illuminate life history traits of various species, adding to sparse ecological knowledge, which can be utilized in conservation planning.
  • Nokireki, Tiina; Tammiranta, Niina; Kokkonen, Ulla-Maija; Kantala, Tuija; Gadd, Tuija (Wiley, 2018)
    A tentative novel member of the genus Lyssavirus, designated as Kotalahti bat lyssavirus, was detected in a Brandt's bat (Myotis brandtii) in Finland. Based on phylogenetic analysis, the virus differs from other known lyssaviruses, being closely related to Khujand virus, Aravan virus, Bokeloh bat lyssavirus and European bat lyssavirus 2.
  • Fernandez-Llamazares, Alvaro; Lopez-Baucells, Adria; Velazco, Paul M.; Gyawali, Arun; Rocha, Ricardo; Terraube, Julien; Cabeza, Mar (2021)
    Indigenous Peoples have shaped and managed vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest for millennia. However, evaluations of how much biodiversity is governed under Indigenous stewardship are scarce. Here, we integrate geospatial data of officially recognized ITs across the Amazon biogeographic boundaries with the distribution range of >200 Amazonian bat species, to: (i) assess the potential contribution of ITs for the conservation of this species -rich mammalian group across the Amazon; (ii) investigate which ITs host the greatest number of bat species; and (iii) analyse how threatened and Data Deficient bat species are distributed within the ITs of the nine Amazonian countries. Twenty-two bat species were found to have >25% of their global distribution range within Amazonian ITs, including many forest-dependent species with restricted distribution ranges and a highly threatened or Data Deficient conservation status. Some particularly diverse ITs were found to harbour over half of the known Amazonian bat species, particularly in transboundary areas in the North-western Amazon. At the national level, the highest number of species with over 25% of their national Amazonian distribution within ITs was found in Peru (145), followed by Brazil (136), Colombia and Ecuador (both with 134). This study reveals the potential role of Indigenous Peoples in Amazonian bat conservation and emphasizes the contribution of their stewardship for maintaining the ecosystems in which some of the most rare and unique bat species are found. (C) 2020 Associacao Brasileira de Ciencia Ecologica e Conservacao. Published by Elsevier B.V.
  • Ossa, Gonzalo; Johnson, Joseph S.; Puisto, Anna I. E.; Rinne, Veikko; Sääksjärvi, Ilari E.; Waag, Austin; Vesterinen, Eero J.; Lilley, Thomas M. (2019)
    The Cimicidae is a family of blood-dependent ectoparasites in which dispersion capacity is greatly associated with host movements. Bats are the ancestral and most prevalent hosts for cimicids. Cimicids have a worldwide distribution matching that of their hosts, but the global classification is incomplete, especially for species outside the most common Cimicidae taxa. In this study, we place a little-studied cimicid species, Bucimex chilensis, within a comprehensive molecular phylogeny of Cimicidae by sequencing the genomic regions of this and other closely related species. For this study, we collected B. chilensis females from Myotis chiloensis in Tierra del Fuego, 1300 km further south than previously known southernmost distribution boundary. We also sequenced COI regions from Primicimex cavernis, a species which together with B. chilensis comprise the entire subfamily Primiciminae. Using Bayesian posterior probability and maximum-likelihood approaches, we found that B. chilensis and P. cavernis clustered close to each other in the molecular analyses, receiving support from similar morphological features, agreeing with the morphology-based taxonomic placement of the two species within the subfamily Primiciminae. We also describe a previously unrecognized morphological adaptation of the tarsal structure, which allows the austral bat ectoparasite, B. chilensis, to cling on to the pelage of its known host, the Chilean myotis (Myotis chiloensis). Through a morphological study and behavioural observation, we elucidate how this tarsal structure operates, and we hypothesize that by clinging in the host pelage, B. chilensis is able to disperse effectively to new areas despite low host density. This is a unique feature shared by P. cavernis, the only other species in Primiciminae.