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2006 | 08 | 1 |
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Habitat use, roost characteristics and diet of the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat Coleura seychellensis

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The Seychelles sheath-tailed bat Coleura seychellensis is a Critically Endangered species endemic to the Seychelles islands of Mahé and Silhouette, with historical records from Praslin and La Digue islands. Published descriptions exist for only one active roost containing 32 bats. The present study located the species only in coastal boulder field caves with stable cool temperatures and access into palm woodland or marsh habitat. At one roost gaps in the woodland are used for foraging and the natural woodland appears to be important for the conservation of the species primarily as foraging habitat. A second roost on Silhouette island has been located near a large, insect rich marsh habitat. Faecal analysis demonstrated that at this site C. seychellensis feeds predominantly on marsh associated Ceratopogonidae (Diptera), in contrast to Curculionidae (Coleoptera) in palm woodland. This dietary plasticity indicates that food is not limiting for this species. The decline in this species may have been caused by habitat alteration caused by invasive plants obstructing roost entrances; conservation of the species requires active habitat management.
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