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Open Life Sciences

formerly Central European Journal of Biology

Editor-in-Chief: Ratajczak, Mariusz

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Volume 8, Issue 5 (Mar 2013)


The bat fauna hibernating in the caves of the Polish Tatra Mountains, and its long-term changes

Krzysztof Piksa
  • Institute of Biology, Cracow Pedagogical University, 31-054, Kraków, Poland
  • Email:
/ Jakub Nowak
  • Cracow Caving Club, 31-463, Kraków, Poland
  • Email:
Published Online: 2013-03-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11535-013-0146-9


We monitored bats hibernating in the Tatra Mountains during winters between 1997 and 2012. The Tatras are Central Europe’s second-highest massif after the Alps. Our winter censuses identified 14 species of bats hibernating in caves of the Polish Tatras. The most characteristic features of these winter bat assemblages were the dominance of Myotis mystacinus and high numbers of Eptesicus nilssonii. During the monitoring period, we noted qualitative and quantitative changes in the hibernating bat fauna. Two thermophilous species not recorded earlier and absent during the entire Holocene appeared: Rhinolophus hipposideros and Myotis emarginatus. The abundance of M. mystacinus, M. daubentonii, E. nilssonii and Plecotus auritus increased. We found no such changes in the abundance of M. myotis or M. nattereri. The Tatra Mountains are a key region for the occurrence of bats of the mystacinus group (particularly M. mystacinus sensu stricto) in Europe, and for E. nilssonii an important region in Central Europe.

Keywords: Winter census; Long-term monitoring; Upward trends; Altitudinal range extension; Central Europe; Myotis mystacinus; Eptesicus nilssonii.

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-03-07

Published in Print: 2013-03-01

Citation Information: Open Life Sciences, ISSN (Online) 2391-5412, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11535-013-0146-9.

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