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Diversity 2018, 10(3), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030103

Sonar Surveys for Bat Species Richness and Activity in the Southern Kalahari Desert, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

1
School of Biological Sciences, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80639, USA
2
Department of Biology, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA 18510, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Abstract

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is located in northwestern South Africa and extends northeastward into Botswana. The park lies largely within the southern Kalahari Desert ecosystem where the Auob and Nassob rivers reach their confluence. Although these rivers run only about once every 100 years, or shortly after large thunderstorms, underground flows and seeps provide consistent surface water for the parks sparse vegetation and diverse wildlife. No formal studies on bats have previously occurred at Kgalagadi. We used SM2 + BAT ultrasonic detectors to survey 10 sites along the Auob and Nassob rivers from 5–16 April 2016. The units recorded 3960 call sequences that were analyzed using Kaleidoscope software for South African bats as well as visual determinations based on call structure attributes (low frequency, characteristic frequency, call duration, and bandwidth). We identified 12 species from four families: Rhinolophidae: Rhinolophus fumigatus. Molossidae: Chaerephon pumilus, and Sauromys petrophilus, Tadarida aegyptiaca; Miniopteridae: Miniopteris schreibersi (natalensis), Vespertilionidae: Laephotis botswanae, Myotis tricolor, Neoromicia capensis, N. nana, Pipistrellus hesperidus, Scotophilus dinganii, and S. viridus. The most abundant species during the survey period was N. capensis. We also used paired-site design to test for greater bat activity at water sources compared to dry sites, with dry sites being significantly more active. We conclude that species richness is much higher than previously known from this region and that more species may be present during the warmer months of the year. In addition, activity of bats during the dry season in Kgalagadi would likely be more concentrated around drinking opportunities, thus allowing for better detection of species richness in the area. View Full-Text
Keywords: bats; Kalahari; South Africa; Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park; species richness bats; Kalahari; South Africa; Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park; species richness
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Adams, R.A.; Kwiecinski, G. Sonar Surveys for Bat Species Richness and Activity in the Southern Kalahari Desert, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. Diversity 2018, 10, 103.

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