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Bats and insect pest control: a review

  • Museo di storia naturale - Università di Firenze Sezione di zoologia «La Specola»


Bat conservation is important not only for biodiversity but also because these flying mammals provide ecological services essential for humans. In particular, bats are very useful for the control of insect populations and specifically pests to agriculture. Their diet very often includes Lepidoptera, a large order with several species very harmful to many plants of great economic interest. The diet of some European species of bats (e.g. Rhinolophus spp., Hypsugo savi, Nyctalus leisleri, N. noctula, Barbastella barbastellus, Plecotus spp., Myotis brandtii, M. bechsteinii, Eptesicus serotinus) includes high percentages of moths (Lepidoptera) and many of them are pests of economic importance. In the United States and Thailand some studies have economically quantified bats’ value as pest control expecially against moths; in Europe these studies are still scarce and need to be promoted giving even more support to the protection of this outstanding order of mammals.
Vespertilio 17: 161–169, 2014
ISSN 1213-6123
Bats and insect pest control: a review
Marco riCCuCCi1 & Benedetto lanZa2
1 Gruppo Italiano Ricerca Chirotteri (GIRC), Pisa, Italy;
2 Museo di Storia Naturale (Sezione Zoologica «La Specola») & Dipartimento di Biologia
Animale e Genetica, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via Romana 17,
50125 Firenze, Italy;
Abstract. Bats and insect pest control, an ecosystem service: a review. Bat conservation is important
not only for biodiversity but also because these ying mammals provide ecological services essential for
humans. In particular, bats are very useful for the control of insect populations and specically pests to
agriculture. Their diet very often includes Lepidoptera, a large order with several species very harmful
to many plants of great economic interest. The diet of some European species of bats (e.g. Rhinolo-
phus spp., Hypsugo savi, Nyctalus leisleri, N. noctula, Barbastella barbastellus, Plecotus spp., Myotis
brandtii, M. bechsteinii, Eptesicus serotinus) includes high percentages of moths (Lepidoptera) and
many of them are pests of economic importance. In the United States and Thailand some studies have
economically quantied bats’ value as pest control expecially against moths; in Europe these studies
are still scarce and need to be promoted giving even more support to the protection of this outstanding
order of mammals.
Agriculture, ecosystem services, Lepidoptera, moths, rice pests, Chilo suppressalis, olive fruit
y, Bactrocera oleae
Only recently the protection of ecosystems and their conservation has been considered under
economic implications trying to understand how natural processes are important for the life and
survival of human beings. Those benets, measurable in economic terms, were called “nature’s
services” (Daily 1997, Daily et al. 2000); later and still today are referred to as “ecosystem ser-
vices” (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005) and dened as benets to humankind derived
from resources and processes supplied by natural ecosystems.
The fundamental role of bats in maintaining ecosystems and their specic utility in the quality
of life were certainly underestimated until a few years ago. Bats are, with more than 1,300 species,
the second largest order of mammals (after rodents) and have colonized many different environ-
ments in all continents except Antarctica (Simmons 2005, Altringham 2011, Fenton & Simmons
2014). Over the past ten years, particular attention was paid to the economic value of bats in
agriculture and forestry, also the subject of several systematic reviews (Boyles et al. 2011, Kunz
et al., 2011, Ghanem & Voigt 2012, Boyles et al. 2013, Kasso & Balakrishnan 2013, Riccucci
& Lanza 2014) that highlight the still poor knowledge of the ecosystem services of insectivorous
bats in Europe. According to Boyles et al. (2011) in the United States the value of insectivorous
bats connected to the agricultural sector is about 22.9 billion USD a year (ranged from 3.7 to
53 billion USD per year). These estimates include the decreased costs of pesticide applications
reducing the development of pesticide resistance. Therefore there is an increasing interest of the
American farmers towards bats and how to attract them in their own land, even installing articial
roosts such as bat boxes (California Agriculture 1998, Kiser & Kiser 2002).
Most of the bat species (about 70%) are insectivorous, as the early Eocene bats (Habersetzer et
al. 1992, Simmons et al. 2008). In particular, some species from the fossil site of Messel (Germany)
used to prey on Lepidoptera (Richter 1993). Insect pests are a major problem in agriculture and
forestry (Hill 1983, 1987, 2008, Pollini 2013). Arthropods destroy between 18% and 26% of the
annual production of crops worldwide, for a value of over 470 billion USD (Culliney 2014). All
European species of Chiroptera are insectivorous (Dietz et al. 2009).
One of the most important ecosystem services of insectivorous bats is the control of herbivorous
arthropods including pest insects (Kunz et al. 2011, Ghanem & Voigt 2012). Among insects, moths
(order Lepidoptera) are major agricultural pests in many parts of the world (Zhang 1994, Hill
2008) and even in Europe, representing 91% of all lepidopterans (the other 9% are butteries).
Many of them are of great economic importance as pests of crops, horticultural plants or stored
products and woollens. Most moths are active at night or dusk, like bats.
Studies on the diets of European bats are here briey reviewed, mainly focusing on Lepidoptera
and on species of moths considered as agricultural pests (Hill 1983, 1987, 2008, Robinson et al.
2010, Pollini 2013). The aim is to highlight the economic benets of bats in insect pest control
and the urgent need to implement conservation actions as many species of bats are endangered
in several European countries (Temple & Terry 2007, Rondinini et al. 2013).
Moth-eating bats
Most of the studies on bats as biological pesticides refer to North America (Whitaker 1995, Cleve-
land et al. 2006, Federico et al. 2008, Boyles et al. 2011, Boyles et al. 2013). Foraging strategies
and diet of many species of European bats are relatively well-known (Beck 1995, Vaughan 1997,
Dietz et al. 2009, Lanza 2012).
The bat community in North America, as investigated by faecal analysis, consists of species
that eat mainly Lepidoptera (Ross 1967, Whitaker & Hamilton 1998). According to Ross (1967)
moths and beetles in North America, both representing very large groups, so numerous and
diverse in types and sizes that they are almost universally available as food for insectivorous
bats. Most African insectivorous bats also feed mainly on Lepidoptera and Coleoptera (Aldridge
& Rautenbach 1987).
A high number of insect species in the diets of bats have recently been identied using mole-
cular techniques on insect fragments in their faeces (Clare et al. 2009). Barnard (2011) provides
a useful appendix with extensive lists of prey species.
Signicant cases of pest control
It is of considerable interest the study carried out in Malta on the diet of Plecotus gaisleri. Borg
& Sammut (2002) mentioned this species as P. austriacus, but see Spitzenberger et al. (2006). The
examination of prey involved a bat present in a small room at the Museum of Natural History in
Mdina (Malta), where bat ate its preys. Bats use to eat the soft parts of their prey, the wings and the
hard ones are usually discarded. The discarded parts were collected and insect species identied
included several pest moths: Galleria mellonella – pest of apiculture; Autographa gamma – the
larvae feed on a wide variety of plants including pea (Pisum sativum), sugar beet (Beta vulgaris),
cabbage (Brassica oleracea); Chrysodeixis chalcites – prefers tomato, potato and pulses, but also
buds and fruits; Heliothis peltigera – prefers Solanaceae, Asteraceae and Fabaceae; Spodoptera
exigua – is a small black cutworm but voracious on different crops, such as sugar beet, corn,
Table 1. List of some Lepidoptera (moths) of agricultural interest found in the diet of European insectivorous
bat species % of Lepidoptera family reference/s
lepidopteran species
Rhinolophus ferrumequinum 78% Jones 1990, Beck
Hepialus humuli Hepialidae 1995, Vaughan 1997,
Agrotis exclamationis Noctuidae Barnard 2011
Mesapamea secalis Noctuidae
Noctua comes Noctuidae
Noctua pronuba Noctuidae
Scoliopteryx libatrix Noctuidae
Rhinolophus hipposideros 19–89% Vaughan 1997, Beck
undetermined 1995, Lino et al. 2014
Rhinolophus euryale 69% Goiti et al. 2004, Goiti
undetermined et al. 2008
Rhinolophus mehelyi >90% Salsamendi et al.
undetermined 2008
Myotis bechsteinii 53–97% Vaughan 1997,
undetermined Noctuidae Barnard 2011
Myotis brandtii 91% Vaughan 1997,
undetermined Barnard 2011
Myotis nattereri 30% Beck 1995, Vaughan
undetermined 1997, Barnard 2011
Barbastella barbastellus 73–99% Jones 1990, Beck
undetermined 1995, Vaughan 1997
Eptesicus nillssonii 56% Beck 1995,
undetermined Vaughan 1997
Eptesicus serotinus 34%
undetermined Geometridae Beck 1995, Barnard
Noctuidae 2011
Odonestis pruni Lasiocampidae Mikula & Čmoková
Agrochola macilenta Noctuidae 2012: “more than
Agrotis ipsilon Noctuidae 80% of the consumed
Amphipoea oculea Noctuidae moths were important
Anarta myrtilli Noctuidae agricultural pests”
Autographa gamma Noctuidae
Brachionycha nubeculosa Noctuidae
Catocala electa Noctuidae
Catocala fulminea Noctuidae
Cucullia umbratica Noctuidae
Euplexia lucipara Noctuidae
Euxoa tritici Noctuidae
Lacanobia thalassina Noctuidae
Luperina nickerlii Noctuidae
Melanchra persicariae Noctuidae
Pachetra sagittigera Noctuidae
Tholera cespitis Noctuidae
Trachea atriplicis Noctuidae
Table 1. (continued)
bat species % of Lepidoptera family reference/s
lepidopteran species
Eptesicus serotinus Xestia castanea Noctuidae Mikula & Čmoková
(continued) Xestia c-nigrum Noctuidae 2012 (continued)
Mamestra brassicae Noctuidae
Noctua comes Noctuidae
Noctua fimbriata Noctuidae
Noctua pronuba Noctuidae
Stauropus fagi Notodontidae
Aglais urticae Nymphalidae
Vanessa cardui Nymphalidae
Pieris napi Pieridae
Coenonimpha arcania Satyridae
Cydia pomonella Tortricidae
Vespertilio murinus 49% Beck 1995, Barnard
undetermined 2011
Hypsugo savii 53%
undetermined Beck 1995
Nyctalus leisleri 67% Beck 1995, Vaughan
undetermined 1997, Barnard 2011
Nyctalus noctula 19–36% Noctuidae Beck 1995, Vaughan
undetermined Pyralidae 1997, Barnard 2011
Melanchra persicariae Noctuidae Poulton 1929
Mythimna pallens Noctuidae
Hepialus humuli Hepialidae
Triodia sylvina Hepialidae
Ourapteryx sambucaria Geometridae
Odontopera bidentata Geometridae
Ematurga atomaria Geometridae
Bupalus piniaria Geometridae
Biston betularia Geometridae
Pipistrellus kuhlii 38% Beck 1995
Pipistrellus nathusii undetermined Beck 1995
Pipistrellus pipistrellus 33% Geometridae Beck 1995,
undetermined Noctuidae Barnard 2011
Pipistrellus pygmaeus undetermined Barnard 2011,
Chilo suppressalis Pyralidae Flaquer 2011
Plecotus auritus 33% Arctiidae Beck 1985, Vaughan
undetermined Geometridae 1997, Barnard 2011
Abrostola triplasia Noctuidae Robinson 1990
Agrotis exclamationis Noctuidae
Amphipyra tragopoginis Noctuidae
Anitype chi Noctuidae
Apamea crenata Noctuidae
bat species % of Lepidoptera family reference/s
lepidopteran species
Plecotus auritus (continued) Apamea monoglypha Noctuidae Robinson 1990
Apamea sordens Noctuidae (continued)
Autographa gamma Noctuidae
Autographa jota Noctuidae
Autographa pulchrina Noctuidae
Caradrina morpheus Noctuidae
Cucullia umbratica Noctuidae
Diachrysia chrysitis Noctuidae
Lacanobia oleracea Noctuidae
Lacanobia thalassina Noctuidae
Mamestra brassicae Noctuidae
Mesapamea secalis Noctuidae
Mesoligia literosa Noctuidae
Mythimna impura Noctuidae
Naenia typica Noctuidae
Noctua comes Noctuidae
Noctua mbriata Noctuidae
Noctua janthina Noctuidae
Noctua pronuba Noctuidae
Oligia strigilis Noctuidae
Phlogophora meticulosa Noctuidae
Rhyacia simulans Noctuidae
Rusina ferruginea Noctuidae
Scoliopteryx libatrix Noctuidae
Xestia xanthographa Noctuidae
Deilephila elpenor Sphingidae
Hepialus humuli Hepialidae
Hepialus sylvina Hepialidae
Nola cucullatella Nolidae
Apamea monoglypha Noctuidae Buckhurst 1930
Noctua pronuba Noctuidae
Noctua comes Noctuidae
Mamestra brassicae Noctuidae
Mesapamea secalis Noctuidae
Agrotis nigricans Noctuidae
Agrotis exclamationis Noctuidae
Leucania conigera Noctuidae
Melanchra persicariae Noctuidae
Spilosoma lubricipeda Arctiida Poulton 1929
Noctua spp. Noctuidae
Plusia sp. Noctuidae
Autographa gamma Noctuidae
Triphosa dubitata Geometridae
Scoliopteryx libatrix Noctuidae
Orthosia sp. Noctuidae
Xylena exsoleta Noctuidae
Eumorpha satellitia Noctuidae
Plecotus austriacus 90% Arctiidae Beck 1995, Barnard
undetermined Drepanidae 2011
Table 1. (continued)
bat species % of Lepidoptera families reference/s
lepidopteran species
Plecotus austriacus Notodontidae Beck 1995, Barnard
(continued) Sphingidae 2011 (continued)
Plecotus gaisleri see text Borg & Sammut 2002
Tadarida teniotis 65–88% Whitaker et al. 1994,
undetermined Rydell & Arlettaz 1994
tomato, green bean, tobacco, grapes; Spodoptera littoralis – among host plants there are cotton,
horticultural crops (Solanaceae), corn; Noctua pronubacauses fatal damage to many plants:
carrots, strawberries, lettuce, tomato, potato, spinach; Agrotis ipsilon infested plants: Swiss
chard, corn, vegetable crops; A. puta, A.segetum – pests of various wild and cultivated plants.
The rice crops have a very important place in human nutrition; this graminaceous plant of Asian
origin is the staple food for about half of the world’s population (Kiple & Ornelas 2000, Timmer
2010) and it is cultivated in almost all countries (FAO 2014). The world rice crop is attacked by
more than 800 species of insects and at least 20 can cause serious economic damages (Heinrichs
1994). In Asia, where more than 90% of the world’s rice is produced, the average loss of yield
due to pests is around 20% (Pathak & Khan 1994). In Thailand bats act as efcient biological
control of rice pests (Leelapaibul et al. 2005, Wanger et al. 2014).
Bats play a relevant action in the protection of economically important crops against lepidopteran
pests. Insects considered as pests, often concentrate in large quantities in cultivated landscapes,
have been found in the diet of several species of bats. To install articial roosts (bat boxes) can
be a real important way to protect bats and to be very useful to agriculture as well. In the Ebro
Delta (Spain), where there are some of the largest European rice paddies, soprano pipistrelle,
Pipistrellus pygmaeus, acts as efcient biological controller of one of the most devastating pest,
the rice striped borer, Chilo suppressalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). In this area several bat boxes
have been installed; they accommodate up to 4,500 bats and have greatly reduced the deleterious
impact of this pest on rice crops, minimizing the use of insecticides (Flaquer et al. 2011). In
France 24 samples were analyzed from droppings collected under articial lodgings (bat boxes)
on the edge of an olive orchard (sampling in September and October during the y ight period).
Four PCR tests were performed and the results show that six samples of bat droppings are po-
sitive showing an adult predation of the olive fruit y, Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae),
by Pipistrellus kuhlii (Ricard et al. 2008). The less pesticides used on crops the less we take in
when we eat. Bats are among the best friends to organic farmers. They play a role in pest control
and attracting bats to farms can make a signicant difference to farmers who want to use natural
biological insect control, rather than rely upon chemicals that may threaten our environmental
and personal health.
Table 1 shows Lepidoptera species (mostly moths) found in the diets of European bats. Only
species in the diet of a specic bat species are mentioned. About 80 species of moths are listed,
found in the diet of 22 species of bats. Lepidoptera make up a substantial part of the diet for Rhi-
nolophus spp., Myotis brandtii, M. bechsteinii, Nyctalus leisleri, N. noctula, Eptesicus serotinus,
Hypsugo savii, Barbastella barbastellus, and Plecotus spp. Among the eaten moths Agrotis excla-
mationis, A. ipsilon, A. segetum, Autographa gamma, Chilo suppressalis, Chrysodeixis chalcites,
Cydia pomonella, Galleria mellonella, Heliothis peltigera, Hepialus humuli, Mamestra brassicae,
Naenia typica, Noctua mbriata, N. pronuba, Odonestis pruni, Phlogophora meticulosa, Spodo-
ptera exigua, S. littoralis, Xestia c-nigrum are signicant agricultural pests. Whenever possible
Latin names were updated according to the current taxonomy.
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... Most showed positive Cq values albeit corresponding to different concentrations. The highest values were found in feces from bats and swallows (approx Cq 31), followed by feces from partridges, quails, swifts, and lizards (Cq [33][34][35]. No T. absoluta DNA was detected in feces from house martins, chickens, two swallows, and one common swift stool sample (Table 4). ...
... Dietary analysis, however, suggests that the Moorish gecko is nocturnal and captures prey belonging to diverse taxonomic groups, mainly ground-dwelling arthropods, including lepidopteran larvae and adults [33]. Bats play a relevant action in the protection of economically important crops against lepidopteran pests [34]. This is the first report of T. absoluta predation by bats in this important tomato-producing area. ...
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Simple Summary The tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta, is one of the most harmful pests to greenhouse tomato crops in the Mediterranean. The biological control of this pest is based on parasitoid and predator insects. However, it may be worthwhile to measure whether the pest is part of the diet of domestic and synanthropic vertebrates like birds, bats, and lizards. We carried out our research in Southern Spain, an area well-known for its extensive tomato farming. TaqMan real-time PCR was used to find T. absoluta in domestic and synanthropic vertebrate feces. The efficiencies of three different DNA extraction methods were also compared. Our research demonstrates that in addition to domestic birds, bats, lizards, and insectivorous birds also consume T. absoluta and may offer an ecosystem service that merits further study. Abstract The ecology of greenhouse pests generally involves parasitoid or predatory insects. However, we investigated whether the leaf miner Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) is part of the diet of domestic and synanthropic vertebrate animals, such as birds, reptiles, and mammals, and that take part in an ecosystem that contains a high density of tomato greenhouses. Feces from domesticated partridges, common quails, and chickens, as well as from wild lizards were collected within tomato greenhouses, and fecal pellets from bats, swallows, common swifts, and house martins living in the vicinity of tomato greenhouses were collected outside. The efficiencies of three different DNA extraction methods were compared on bird, reptile, and mammal stool samples, and the DNA extracts were analyzed using probe real-time PCR for the presence of T. absoluta DNA. The results showed that bats fed on the pest, which was also part of the diet of several bird species: partridges and common quails kept within tomato greenhouses and swallows and common swifts living outside but in the vicinity of tomato greenhouses. In addition, fecal samples of three lizard species living near tomato crops also tested positive for T. absoluta DNA. The results suggest that aerial foraging bats and insectivorous birds are part of ecosystems that involve leaf miners and tomato greenhouses.
... European deciduous forests are seasonally threatened by population overgrowth of pest defoliators, particularly moths (Zhang 1994;Hill 2008). Bats are significant predators of moths (Riccucci and Lanza 2014) which can be easily proven using morphological analysis (McAney et al. 1991). To further distinguished certain prey items, for example pest moth species, we need to use molecular analysis (Clare et al. 2009). ...
... In this case, consumption (or suppression) refers to the effect of an individual bat, with pests being consumed with no proven effect on population regulation (Russo et al. 2018), while pest regulation (or control) refers to a proven regulatory effect of predation on a pest population (Russo et al. 2018), which has rarely been ascertained in bats (McCracken et al. 2012;Charbonnier et al. 2014;Maine and Boyles 2015). While temperate bats prey upon a vast range of arthropod species, one of the most frequently foraged taxa are the Lepidoptera (moths) (Andreas et al. 2012a;Riccucci and Lanza 2014), the caterpillars of which can cause significant losses in cropping systems worldwide. Recently, a clear geographic range expansion in many moth species was discovered (Suckling et al. 2017), prompting a number of studies regarding potential regulation by bats (Cleveland et al. 2006;Puig-Montserrat et al. 2015;Garin et al. 2019;Kunz et al. 2011). ...
High number of moth species are considered to be agricultural pests in their caterpillar stage. Birds and other arthropods often forage moths, but ecosystem services provided by temperate bats are just coming to light in past few years. Although there is no doubt that insectivorous bats forage upon adult stages of pest moths contributing to the quality and quantity of crops, it remains unclear how many prey items have foraged and therefore it is unclear if the amounts taken are sufficient for biocontrol. Molecular detection of pest moth imagoes in bat diet is a relatively new approach that only delivers present or absent data. Therefore, sorting contains of bat faeces using morphological size determination may lead to better prey quantification. As the number of consumed prey items determines the boundary between consumption and regulatory significance, we focused on (i) if indigestible moth body parts retrieved from faeces reflect the number of moths eaten, (ii) how size of indigestible moth body parts relates to the overall moth body size, and (iii) an accuracy of moth classification into size groups. Our results indicated that base frenulum (hook holding front and hinder wings together) width is the most suitable characteristic to determine body size of the moth, with a discrimination success exceeding 73% when placing the moth into one of four size categories. The size differentiation of prey within a faecal sample together with molecular identification and other semiquantitative methods allows for more precise quantification and could yet help confirm the importance of bats as biological control agents.
... Conservation bats are important due to their crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and providing essential ecosystem services such as pest management in agriculture, pollinators, and malaria control (Fill et al., 2022;Riccucci & Lanza, 2014). Effective conservation and rehabilitation of the programs are dependent on climate trends and the distribution ranges of species (Préau et al., 2020). ...
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Fruit bats serve as crucial bioindicators, seed dispersers, pollinators, and contributors to food security within ecosystems. However, their population and distribution were threatened by climate change and anthropogenic pressures. Understanding the impacts of these pressures through mapping distribution and habitat suitability is crucial for identifying high-priority areas and implementing effective conservation and management plans. We predicted the distribution and extent of habitat suitability for Rousettus aegyptiacus and Epomophorus labiatus under climate change scenarios using average predictions from four different algorithms to produce an ensemble model. Seasonal precipitation, population index, land-use land cover, vegetation, and the mean temperature of the driest quarter majorly contributed to the predicted habitat suitability for both species. The current predicted sizes of suitable habitats for R. aegyptiacus and E. labiatus were varied, on average 60,271.4 and 85,176.1 km 2 , respectively. The change in species range size for R. aegyptiacus showed gains in suitable areas of 24.4% and 22.8% in 2050 and 2070, respectively. However, for E. labiatus, suitable areas decreased by 0.95% and 2% in 2050 and 2070, respectively. The range size change of suitable areas between 2050 and 2070 for R. aegyptiacus and E. labia-tus shows losses of 1.5% and 1.2%, respectively. The predicted maps indicate that the midlands and highlands of southern and eastern Ethiopia harbor highly suitable areas for both species. In contrast, the areas in the northern and central highlands are fragmented. The current model findings show that climate change and anthropogenic pressures have notable impacts on the geographic ranges of two species. Moreover, the predicted suitable habitats for both species are found both within and outside of their historical ranges, which has important implications for conservation efforts. Our ensemble predictions are vital for identifying high-priority areas for fruit bat species conservation efforts and management to mitigate climate change and anthropogenic pressures.
... Most bats consume at least some insects, and many bats are dependent on insects for all dietary needs. Bats are considered to fulfill a critical role as natural checks on insect populations (Ramírez-Fr ancel et al., 2022), and estimates of their monetary value (e.g., in lieu of pesticides) are immense (Riccucci & Lanza, 2014). As discussed in this issue by Paksuz (2022), a potential cost of insectivory is water loss, since insects have far lower water content than other food. ...
This special issue of The Anatomical Record is inspired by and dedicated to Professor Kunwar P. Bhatnagar, whose lifelong interests in biology, and long career studying bats, inspired many and advanced our knowledge of the world's only flying mammals. The 15 articles included here represent a broad range of investigators, treading topics familiar to Prof. Bhatnagar, who was interested in seemingly every aspect of bat biology. Key topics include broad themes of bat development, sensory systems, and specializations related to flight and diet. These articles paint a complex picture of the fascinating adaptations of bats, such as rapid fore limb development, ear morphologies relating to echolocation, and other enhanced senses that allow bats to exploit niches in virtually every part of the world. In this introduction, we integrate and contextualize these articles within the broader story of bat ecomorphology, providing an overview of each of the key themes noted above. This special issue will serve as a springboard for future studies both in bat biology and in the broader world of mammalian comparative anatomy and ecomorphology.
... Despite the declines in abundance of moths documented in parts of Europe (Antão et al., 2020, Conrad et al., 2006, Groenendijk and Ellis, 2011, the conservation potential of field margins for this group remains less studied. Moths represent an important source of food, both in their larval and adult form, to many other taxa such as birds and bats (Riccucci et al., 2014, Török et al., 2004. In some contexts, moths are important crop pollinators (Buxton et al., 2022) although in the British landscape, their role as pollinators of wildflowers is more important (Macgregor et al., 2019, Walton et al., 2020. ...
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Moth populations have declined across large parts of north-western Europe since the mid-20th century due, in part, to agricultural intensification. Agri-environment schemes (AES) are widely implemented across Europe to protect biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Grass field margins enriched with wildflowers typically out-perform grass-only margins in terms of increasing insect abundance and diversity. However, the effect of wildflower enrichment on moths remains largely unstudied. Here, the relative importance of larval hostplants and nectar resources for adult moths within AES field margins are investigated. Two treatments and a control were compared: (i) a plain grass mix, the control, (ii) a grass mix enriched with only moth-pollinated flowers, and (iii) a grass mix enriched with 13 wildflower species. Abundance, species richness and Shannon diversity were up to 1.4, 1.8 and 3.5 times higher, respectively, in the wildflower treatment compared to plain grass. The difference in diversity between treatments became greater in the second year. There was no difference in total abundance, richness or diversity between the plain grass treatment and grass enriched with moth-pollinated flowers. The increase in abundance and diversity in the wildflower treatment was due primarily to the provision of larval hostplants, with nectar provision playing a smaller role. The relative abundance of species whose larval hostplants included sown wildflowers increased in the second year, suggesting colonisation of the new habitat. Implications for insect conservation. We show that, at the farm scale, moth diversity can be greatly enhanced and abundance moderately enhanced by sowing diverse wildflower margins, providing these insects with both larval hostplants and floral resources, compared to grass-only margins.
... Vertebrates have been often neglected as CBC agents; however, recent evidence shows that several groups such as amphibians, birds, and mammals provide an important pest control service in crops (Riccucci and Lanza 2014;Khatiwada et al. 2016;Garcia et al. 2020). In our analysis, we found that in the Neotropics, most studies have been focused on pest control provided by birds and mammals. ...
The history and recent developments of conservation biological control (CBC) in the context of industrialized and small-scale agriculture are discussed from theoretical framework available in the Neotropical region. A historical perspective is presented in terms of the transition of the way pests have been controlled since ancestral times, while some of these techniques persist in some areas cultivated on a small-scale agriculture. The context of industrialized agriculture sets the stage for the transition from chemical pesticides promoted in the green revolution to the more modern concept of IPM and finds in conservation biological an important strategy in relation to more sustainable pest management options meeting new consumer demands for cleaner products and services. However, it also noted that conservation, considered within a more integrative approach, establishes its foundations on an overall increase in floral biodiversity, that is, transversal to both small-scale and industrialized areas. In the latter case, we present examples where industrialized agriculture is implementing valuable efforts in the direction of conservation and new technologies are envisioned within more sustainable plant production systems and organizational commitment having that conservation biological control has become instrumental to environmental management plans. In addition, a metanalysis on the principal organisms associated with conservation efforts is presented. Here, we found that hymenopteran parasitoids resulted in the most studied group, followed by predators, where arachnids constitute a well-represented group, while predatory vertebrates are neglected in terms of reports on CBC. Our final remarks describe new avenues of research needed and highlight the need of cooperation networks to propose research, public outreach, and adoption as strategic to educate costumers and participants on the importance of conservation as main tool in sustainable pest management.
Türkiye, çilek üretiminde dünyanın önde gelen ülkelerinden biridir. Antalya ili Türkiye çilek üretiminde üçüncü, örtüaltı çilek üretiminde ise ikinci sırada yer almaktadır. Örtüaltı çilek üretiminde sorun olan zararlı böcek türlerini belirlemek amacıyla ele alınan bu çalışma, Antalya’da 2019-2020 ve 2020-2021 üretim sezonunda yürütülmüştür. Çalışmada, örtüaltı topraksız üretim serasında haftalık olarak bitki örneklemeleri yapılmış ve zararlı takibinde yapışkan tuzaklardan yararlanılmıştır. Çalışma sonucunda örtüaltı çilek üretiminde Crysodeixis chalcites (Esper, 1789) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), Aulacorthum solani (Kaltenbach, 1843) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval, 1833) (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae), Autographa gamma (Linnaeus, 1758) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande, 1895) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) ve Thrips tabaci (Lindeman 1889) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)’nin öne çıkan türler olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Chrysodeixis chalcites, en fazla 0.08 adet/bitki, A. gamma ve S. littoralis ise birlikte 0.08 adet/bitki yoğunluğunda belirlenmiştir. Aulacorthum solani yapışkan tuzaklarda en fazla 12 adet, yaprakta ise 3.98 adet olarak tespit edilmiştir. Thrips türleri tuzakta en fazla 199 adet olarak belirlenmiş, yapraklarda ve çiçeklerde ise önemli bir yoğunluk oluşturmadığı ortaya konulmuştur.
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Bats are among the most economically important nondomesticated mammals in the world. They are well-known pollinators and seed dispersers, but crop pest suppression is probably the most valuable ecosystem service provided by bats. Scientific literature and popular media often include reports of crop pests in the diet of bats and anecdotal or extrapolated estimates of how many insects are eaten by bats. However, quantitative estimates of the ecosystem services provided by bats in agricultural systems are rare, and the few estimates that are available are limited to a single cotton-dominated system in Texas. Despite the tremendous value for conservation and economic security of such information, surprisingly few scientific efforts have been dedicated to quantifying the economic value of bats. Here, we outline the types of information needed to better quantify the value of bats in agricultural ecosystems. Because of the complexity of the ecosystems involved, creative experimental design and innovative new methods will help advance our knowledge in this area. Experiments involving bats in agricultural systems may be needed sooner than later, before population declines associated with white-nose syndrome and wind turbines potentially render them impossible. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. All rights are reserved.
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Order Chiroptera is the second most diverse and abundant order of mammals with great physiological and ecological diversity. They play important ecological roles as prey and predator, arthropod suppression, seed dispersal, pollination, material and nutrient distribution, and recycle. They have great advantage and disadvantage in economic terms. The economic benefits obtained from bats include biological pest control, plant pollination, seed dispersal, guano mining, bush meat and medicine, aesthetic and bat watching tourism, and education and research. Even though bats are among gentle animals providing many positive ecological and economic benefits, few species have negative effects. They cause damage on human, livestock, agricultural crops, building, and infrastructure. They also cause airplane strike, disease transmission, and contamination, and bite humans during self-defense. Bat populations appear to be declining presumably in response to human induced environmental stresses like habitat destruction and fragmentation, disturbance to caves, depletion of food resources, overhunting for bush meat and persecution, increased use of pesticides, infectious disease, and wind energy turbine. As bats are among the most overlooked in spite of their economical and ecological importance, their conservation is mandatory.