Environment Australia, 1999
ISBN 0 642 2546 363
Taxon summary: Southern Myotis
Scientific name: Myotis macropus Gould, 1855
Common name: Southern Myotis
Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened)
Past range and abundance
Unknown. Taxonomic revision and confusion makes definitive statements about this species extremely difficult. However, in light of taxonomic revision by Kitchener et al. (1995) and recent genetic studies (T. Reardon unpub.) the species is thought to have occurred from the south of south-east Queensland along coastal Australia, with populations in Victoria and eastern South Australia and along the inland waterways of Murray and possibly Darling River systems. Thus the distribution of this species is much more restricted than shown earlier for the M. adversus complex (see McKean and Hall 1965, Strahan 1983, 1995) but consistent with that shown by Parnaby (1992). There is no historical data on abundance.
Present range and abundance
This species is generally uncommon to rare throughout most of its range. It occurs disjunctly along the coast from Victoria to south east Queensland and inland along waterways (for general distribution see Parnaby 1992). There has possibly been a decline along inland waterways (Law and Anderson unpub.), especially in southern New South Wales. In Victoria this species has been recorded from a relatively small number of localities scattered across lowland areas of the state, associated with large inland rivers (e.g. Murray River), coastal rivers and estuaries (e.g. Glenelg River, Wingan Inlet), lakes (e.g. Gippsland Lakes) and small creeks. Although widespread it is considered to be relatively rare and is only patchily distributed within areas of apparently suitable habitat (Lumsden and Menkhorst 1995). In South Australia it is known only from small colonies near Nildottie on the River Murray but probably extends along the river where there are cliffs. In south east Queensland, where in some areas it is locally common, the range of this species extends north to Gladstone.
Preferred habitat is riparian. Roosts in caves, mines, tree hollows, aqueduct tunnels and under bridges and in dense vegetation in the vicinity of bodies of slow-flowing or still water (including estuaries). A recent study of the roosting ecology of this species at three localities in Victoria found it roosted exclusively in tree hollows (Caddle 1998). Roosts were located in partly submerged dead trees at Lake Eildon, while live trees close to the water were used at the other two localities. In South Australia, small colonies have been found in small vertical avens in overhangs in limestone cliffs along the Murray River. Almost exclusively forages over water (rivers, streams, dams) for aquatic prey in a variety of forest types (McKean and Hall 1965, Dwyer 1970, Lumsden and Coles 1989, Jones and Rayner 1991).
Not certain. Is likely to be susceptible to changes in water quality, which may result from vegetation clearing and logging (sedimentation), sewage and fertilizer run-off (eutrophication), pesticide/herbicide leakage (chemical pollution) and altered flow regimes (changes to river ecology). Where populations concentrate in roosts which are susceptible to disturbance, human activities such as recreational use of caves and removal of old wooden bridges would also be a threat. The species may have been subject of over-collection in the past.
- Complete the review of taxonomy and distribution of this species and its congeners. In particular confirm the placement of northern New South Wales specimens. Morphological parameters of New South Wales specimens should be incorporated into the study of Kitchener et al. (1995). Genetic studies are currently underway at the South Australian Museum.
- Conduct targetted surveys to clarify the status of the inland populations along the Murray River and in northern New South Wales.
- Assess whether this species is adequately represented in conservation reserves and ensure the security of known maternity sites.
- Carry out ecological research to determine:
- habitat requirements;
- roost and maternity site selection, particularly the relative dependence on caves versus tree hollows;
- sensitivity to changes in water quality;
- population dynamics; and
- threatening processes.
- Encourage State and local government authorities with responsibility for construction and maintenance of roads to inspect bridges/culverts prior to demolition to reduce impact on colonies utilising these structures.
Caddle C.R. 1998. Roost selection by the Large-footed Myotis Myotis adversus in southern Australia. Honours thesis. Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne.
Dwyer P.D. 1970. Foraging behaviour of the Australian Large-footed Myotis (Chiroptera). Mammalia 34, 76–80.
Jones G. and Rayner J.M.V. 1991. Flight performance, foraging tactics and echolocation in the trawling insectivorous bat Myotis adversus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae). Journal of Zoology, London 225, 393–412.
Kitchener D.J., Cooper N. and Maryanto I. 1995. The Myotis adversus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) species complex in Eastern Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Records of the Western Australian Museum 17, 191–212.
Lumsden L.F. and Coles R.B. 1989. Echolocation by Myotis adversus foraging over water. Macroderma 5, 20.
Lumsden L.F. and Menkhorst P.W. 1995. Large-footed Myotis Myotis adversus. pp.182–183 in P.W. Menkhorst (Ed.) Mammals of Victoria: distribution, ecology and conservation. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
McKean J.L. and Hall L.S. 1965. Distribution of the Large-footed Myotis, Myotis adversus, in Australia. Victorian Naturalist 82, 164–168.
Pallin N., Richards G., Gibson L. and Perry A. 1995. Endangered bats in NSW. Australasian Bat Society Newsletter 4, 42–45.
Parnaby H. 1992. An interim guide to identification of insectivorous bats of south-eastern Australia. Technical Reports of the Australian Museum No. 8. Australian Museum, Sydney.
Strahan R. (Ed.) 1983. The Australian Museum Complete Book of Australian Mammals. Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Strahan R. (Ed.) 1995. The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.
Authors for the species