Investigating the diet of the Ghost Bat

by Brighton Downing
in Blog
Hits: 324

The Ghost Bat is Australia’s largest microbat and one of the Pilbara’s threatened species frequently encountered by mining developers of the region. As with all appropriate management, understanding the species ecological requirements is an integral step in avoiding impacts. However, there remain many things still unknown about this enigmatic species. 

Until recently, very little was understood about the species’ diet in the Pilbara. As part of survey work being conducted by Biologic, faecal samples were collected from known roosts throughout the region. DNA from these faecal samples was extracted and analysed to investigate the diet of the species as part of an industry collaboration with staff from the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Perth Zoo, regional specialists and Morgan O’Connell, Director of Biologic.

The study revealed that Ghost Bats prey on 46 vertebrate taxa. Among the favourites are Budgerigars and Little Buttonquail, common birds of the region. Understanding the Ghost Bats’ dietary preferences will provide insight into how this species is coping with the effects of anthropogenic change, to ensure its’ continued survival within the region.

Arteaga Claramunt, A. M., White, N. E., Bunce, M., O’Connell, M., Bullen, R. D., & P.R, M. (2018). Determination of the diet of the Ghost bat (Macroderma gigas) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia from dried prey remains and DNA metabarcoding. Australian Journal of Zoology.

Link to article here: http://www.publish.csiro.au/ZO/ZO18040.