We performed acoustic surveys at 78 sites around one bat colony to examine seasonal patterns of habitat use by greater horseshoe bats. Insect abundance and temperature were determined in each season. Bat diets were assessed by analysing faecal composition. Greater horseshoe bats tended to forage in mixed broadleaved and mixed broadleaved and coniferous woodland and were rarely found foraging in coniferous woodland. Bat activity in mixed broadleaved woodland and woodland glades significantly decreased from June to September. There were significant seasonal differences in the frequency of utilization of different habitats. Distance from the day roost had significant effects on bat activity only in June and July. The diet of greater horseshoe bats was clearly dominated by Lepidoptera and Coleoptera, with some variations with seasons. The seasonal variation of habitat use by greater horseshoe bats probably depended on resource availability that fluctuates over space and time. These results have important implications for the conservation of this bat species. Cluttered broadleaved woodland and mixed broadleaved woodland constitute an important target for conservation. Instead of reforestation with the non-native pure coniferous woodland, planting and maintaining broadleaved forests or mixed forests should be encouraged.
©2010 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York