Conservation Council of WA: Bellwethers of Climate Change


The White-striped Bat (Tadarida australis) is one of the largest insectivorous (microbats) in Australia. It is a fast flyer and tracks the open space above the tree canopy. Its speed gives it a wide foraging range and as a result it is one of the few bats routinely encountered over urban areas. Unlike most other microbats, the White-striped Bat cannot hibernate and so may be encountered foraging at relatively low temperatures. It also uses its fast energetic flight to migrate northwards across the arid zone during the winter months. Unlike other microbats part of the White-striped Bats echolocation call is audible to most people once they’ve been tuned in.

The White-striped Bat is being groomed as a climate change indicator species for both the ClimateWatch Program and the Conservation Council of Western Australia’s Citizen Science Program. The White-striped Bat is easy to detect (by listening for it) and its behaviour, distribution, migratory timing and population size are all potential indicators of climate change. Can the White-striped Bat adapt and if so how and where?

The ‘bat-listening’ project will be launched along with the 24 other Western Australian Climatewatch indicators at the opening of Conservation Week on 23 October. The launch will be preceded by a seminar ‘Bellwethers of Climate Change’ that will demonstrate the different responses of WA plants and animals to current climate change, including seabirds, bats and native plants. If volunteer bat listeners could do at least one observation period in that period, we can get a spring snap-shot of where the bats are distributed.

Presumably further information will be posted soon here

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