Effects of artificial illumination on drinking bats: a field test in forest and desert habitats

  • Published source details Russo D., Ancillotto L., Cistrone L., Libralato N., Domer A., Cohen S. & Korine C. (2019) Effects of artificial illumination on drinking bats: a field test in forest and desert habitats. Animal Conservation, 22, 124-133.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Avoid illumination of bat foraging, drinking and swarming sites

Action Link
Bat Conservation
  1. Avoid illumination of bat foraging, drinking and swarming sites

    A replicated, before-and-after study in 2015–2016 at six cattle troughs within forest in Italy and three natural desert ponds in Israel (Russo et al 2019) found that unlit troughs within forests had higher drinking activity for six of eight bat species/species groups than troughs illuminated with artificial light, and unlit desert ponds had higher drinking activity for all of three bat species than illuminated ponds. At forest sites, more drinking buzzes (average/30 min interval) were recorded when troughs were unlit than when they were illuminated for barbastelle bat Barbastella barbastellus (unlit: 250; illuminated: 140), Myotis spp. (unlit: 160; illuminated: 40), Natterer’s bat Myotis nattereri (unlit: 35; illuminated: 8), brown long-eared bat Plecotus auritus (unlit: 50; illuminated: 4), common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus (unlit: 88; illuminated: 76) and Leisler’s bat Nyctalus leisleri (unlit: 11; illuminated: 4). The difference was not significant for Kuhl’s pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii (unlit: 28; illuminated: 46) or Savi’s pipistrelle Hypsugo savii (unlit: 18; illuminated: 7). At desert sites, more drinking buzzes were recorded when ponds were unlit than when they were illuminated for desert pipistrelle Hypsugo bodenheimeri (unlit: 1,040; illuminated: 260), trident bat Asellia tridens (unlit: 240; illuminated: 70) and Kuhl’s pipistrelle (unlit: 45–1,270; illuminated: 10–350). Troughs (same study area as Russo et al 2017) and ponds were illuminated with a portable LED (light-emitting diode) white light. At each of nine sites, one bat detector recorded bat activity for four hours on two consecutive nights (one unlit, one lit) in July–August 2015 (forest) and July 2016 (desert).

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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