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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 10, 2014

Geographical distribution, roost selection, and conservation state of cave-dwelling bats in China

  • Yanzhen Bu , Yanmei Wang , Chan Zhang , Wei Liu , Huixian Zhou , Yan Yu and Hongxing Niu EMAIL logo
From the journal Mammalia


This study was conducted to understand the distribution and roost characteristics of cave-dwelling bats and to identify those sites that are important for the conservation of bat species in China. A total of 129 roosts in four zoogeographic regions in China, 56 of which had not been previously surveyed, were investigated in this 3-year study (2010–2013). Approximately 95,000 bats representing 32 species were recorded, and the results will provide a reference for future bat research. The bat species of central China are the most abundant because a total of 21 species were found in that region. Southwest China had the largest average number of bat species in each roost, whereas southern China had the largest average number of bats in each roost. Natural caves accommodated >57,000 individuals representing 29 bat species, and the average number of bats in each natural cave was 723.1. The general trend in the number of bat species was decreasing with an increase in altitude. At present, few caves have adequate protection, and some bat populations are under serious threat. The data will help local governments develop suitable strategies to promote local tourism while protecting important habitats of animal species.

Corresponding author: Hongxing Niu, College of Life Science, Henan Normal University, Xinxiang 453007, China, e-mail:


This project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 31172056 and 31172050). We thank all those who helped in the field, especially Songqiang Zhao, Wenzhi Yang, Yankun Zhu, Lezhen Zhao, Yanxiao Wang, and Xiao Sun. We thank Qiyun Yin, Mingguo Li, Junhui Chen, Yumei Xiao, Yudao Xu, Youqiang Zheng, Yulai Huang, and Feng Xiang for help in measuring roosts parameters; Xinping He and Dr. Jinyou Ma for help in identification of species; and Drs. Xiaojin Zhao, Lina Jiang, Yun Shao for help in statistical advice.


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Received: 2014-1-13
Accepted: 2014-10-22
Published Online: 2014-12-10
Published in Print: 2015-11-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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