Environment Australia, 1999
ISBN 0 642 2546 363
This Action Plan for Australian Bats was commissioned by the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (now the Biodiversity Group of Environment Australia), through the Endangered Species Program (ESP).
Development of the Action Plan commenced in November 1990, when a contract for the Action Plan was awarded for its preparation to the University of Queensland. The team preparing the plan was Mr Greg Richards, Dr Les Hall and Dr Chris Tidemann. A draft was subsequently completed by Greg Richards and Les Hall in March 1994. This draft was prepared prior to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) completing development of new criteria for allocating taxa to Red List categories. In addition, data from Western Australia was not able to be included, necessitating a review of the document.
A second contract was awarded to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in December 1994 to incorporate Western Australian data and to review the status of bat taxa using the revised IUCN (November 1994) criteria. This work was assigned by CSIRO to Greg Richards and Les Hall.
In April 1994 at an Australasian Bat Conference in Lismore, a questionnaire with proposed IUCN categories was circulated for comment. In March 1996 a workshop was held as part of the 7th Australasian Bat Conference in Naracoorte South Australia. At this workshop a draft list of the proposed conservation status (as determined by IUCN categories) for all recognised taxa was distributed to participants. Comments on the draft list were invited. In August 1996 a further draft of the Action Plan was completed and circulated to reviewers and State and Territory conservation agencies for comment. This draft served as an extremely important focus for the ‘bat community’ in concentrating their ideas on the status of species and conservation issues.
In response to comments from reviewers and conservation agencies, a workshop was convened by Environment Australia in June 1997 to resolve issues raised in comments and assist in finalising the Action Plan. At this workshop the national species list was revised, the allocation of species to IUCN categories was reviewed, and commitments to update the information content of recovery outlines were made by experts for each species. It was also agreed that Environment Australia would convene an editorial panel to edit the final document. Subsequently, Mr Barry Baker, Ms Anne Duncan, Ms Lindy Lumsden, Ms Narelle Montgomery, Dr John Nelson, Mr Terry Reardon and Dr Norm McKenzie agreed to join the editorial panel.
The Editorial Panel met in April 1998 to finalise taxonomic decisions, assignment of Red List Categories and recovery outlines and taxon summaries for the plan. The document was then edited by Environment Australia officers Anne Duncan, Barry Baker and Narelle Montgomery. Environment Australia circulated the final plan to ANZECC agencies for review and the draft was amended as appropriate.
The aim of the Action Plan is to:
- provide a national overview of the conservation status of bats, including assessment of taxa using IUCN Categories, identification of threats and recommendation of actions;
- identify habitats or areas of particular importance for bat conservation including key areas or habitats for endangered and vulnerable taxa;
- identify processes threatening bats, in particular those taxa in endangered and vulnerable categories, and identify areas where these processes are a problem; and
- recommend conservation priorities including research and management actions with particular emphasis on endangered and vulnerable taxa.
Species were subjectively assessed against IUCN criteria (IUCN 1994, Appendix A), initially by Greg Richards and Les Hall. This initial assessment was circulated for comment at the 7th Australasian Bat Conference at Naracoorte in 1996 and these categories were revised for the 1996 draft plan.
The categories ascribed in the 1996 draft plan were revised at the Environment Australia workshop in June 1997. Invited workshop participants consisted of Australian bat experts and representatives of State and Territory conservation agencies. A list of participants is provided in Appendix B. One of the main aims of the workshop was to ensure that all people with knowledge about the conservation status and conservation needs of species had an opportunity to have input into the Action Plan. Subsequent to the workshop, the status of some species was further discussed by the workshop participants, primarily using electronic mail.
Recovery outlines from the 1996 draft were sent to workshop participants who volunteered to update them. Comments on each species were then compiled into a final draft recovery outline and circulated to all the contributors.
Some suggestions and comments received subsequent to the 1997 workshop, primarily on the taxonomic and conservation status of taxa, required resolution. These issues were referred to the Editorial Panel, which met in April 1998 to finalise the plan. Decisions taken by the panel, where they depart significantly from those made at the 1997 workshop, are discussed in Chapter 2 and in the recovery outlines and taxon summaries.
A complete taxonomic list of Australian bats and the category of threat assigned in this Action Plan, using the IUCN Categories of Threat (IUCN 1994), and sorted on status, is shown in Table 1.1. The complete taxonomic list of Australian bats is shown in Appendix D.
It should be noted that, for many taxa, comprehensive data required for accurate assessment of conservation status were not available. For those taxa where some data was available but this was incomplete, the 1996 workshop and the Editorial Panel endeavoured to allocate categories based on the use of the precautionary principle, as recommended in the preamble to the IUCN Red List Categories of Threat (IUCN 1994). For fourteen taxa there was insufficient data to make a meaningful allocation and so these were placed in the Data Deficient category.
For some species the categories of threat assigned by the Editorial Panel will be considered contentious. These species and the reasons for decisions taken by the Editorial Panel are discussed below.
Some discussion is warranted here of the special case of Macroderma gigas. Previously, both the IUCN and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency (now Environment Australia) had classified M. gigas as Vulnerable. This species has a high profile in Australia, partly because of its striking appearance and carnivorous habit.
The designation of conservation category for M. gigas has been the subject of some consideration in the Action Plan. Historical evidence shows unequivocally that M. gigas has suffered a major range contraction over the last 200 years or so. It appears also to be vulnerable because of its dependence on a small number of mines and caves for breeding. However, when the June workshop considered the available evidence, it could not match any of IUCN criteria to keep M. gigas in a threatened category.
The issue is complicated because M. gigas is the only Australian bat species which has been subjected to genetic analysis for the purpose of understanding its population structure (Worthington-Wilmer et al. 1994). The results of this study, which examined four of the major known maternity sites, showed that there was strong genetic differences between populations at each of these sites. The suggestion from this study was that each site or population would be considered as a separate management unit, and that each unit would most likely satisfy IUCN criteria to be placed in a threatened category.
One option open to the Editorial Panel was to treat each major population of M. gigas as a separate conservation unit and prepare a Recovery Outline for each. However, the study of Worthington-Wilmer et al. (1994) did not examine all known main maternity sites nor is it clear where the boundaries are for each population. The Panel has therefore decided that, at this stage, M. gigas should be treated as a single taxon, and in the Recovery Outline has recommended that further genetic work be carried out to complete the work of Worthington-Wilmer et al. (1994). Following that work the question of how to treat the populations should be reconsidered. The Panel also recognises that M. gigas will be classified in threatened categories at the State and Territory level.
Pteropus poliocephalus and Pteropus conspicillatus
The listings of two species of Pteropus, P. poliocephalus (VU A2c, A2d, A2e) and P. conspicillatus (LR nt) were carefully debated. In the case of P. poliocephalus, a strong case was presented for listing as Vulnerable and it was agreed by the Editorial Panel that the species meets the appropriate IUCN criteria. The basis of the listing is projected population decline in response to documented on-going reduction in critical habitat in north east New South Wales and south east Queensland. In the case of P. conspicillatus, a consensus could not be reached on its conservation status by those reviewing the evidence. It was decided there was not sufficient information available on past or projected population decline for the species to be listed as threatened under IUCN criteria.
|Nyctophilus howensis||Lord Howe Long-eared Bat||EX|
|Saccolaimus saccolaimus nudicluniatus||Bare-rumped Sheathtail Bat||CR (A1a)|
|Taphozous troughtoni||Troughton's Sheathtail Bat||CR (B1, B2c)|
|Pipistrellus murrayi||Christmas Island Pipistrelle||EN (C1)|
|Rhinolophus philippinensis (large form)||Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat||EN (C2a)|
|Hipposideros semoni||Semon's Leaf-nosed Bat||EN (C2a, D)|
|Pteropus poliocephalus||Grey-headed Flying-fox||VU (A2c, A2d, A2e)|
|Rhinonicteris aurantius (Pilbara form)||Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat||VU (A1c, B1, B2c)|
|Chalinolobus dwyeri||Large-eared Pied Bat||VU (A1a, C2a)|
|Nyctophilus timoriensis (South-eastern form)||Eastern Long-eared Bat||VU (A1c, A2c)|
|Pteropus conspicillatus||Spectacled Flying-fox||LR (nt)|
|Dobsonia moluccensis magna||Bare-backed Fruit Bat||LR (nt)|
|Macroderma gigas||Ghost Bat||LR (nt)|
|Taphozous australis||Coastal Sheathtail Bat||LR (nt)|
|Chalinolobus picatus||Little Pied Bat||LR (nt)|
|Falsistrellus mackenziei||Western False Pipistrelle||LR(nt)|
|Kerivoula papuensis||Golden-tipped Bat||LR (nt)|
|Murina florium||Tube-nosed Insectivorous Bat||LR (nt)|
|Myotis macropus||Southern Myotis||LR (nt)|
|Nyctophilus timoriensis (Central form)||Central Long-eared Bat||LR (nt)|
|Scoteanax rueppellii||Greater Broad-nosed Bat||LR(nt)|
|Miniopterus schreibersii (Southern form)||Southern Bent-wing Bat||LR (cd)|
|Pteropus sp. (Moa Island)||Torresian Flying-fox||DD|
|Pteropus brunneus||Percy Island Flying-fox||DD|
|Pteropus melanotus natalis||Christmas Island Flying-fox||DD|
|Nyctimene cephalotes||Torresian Tube-nosed Bat||DD|
|Rhinolophus philippinensis (small form)||Lesser Large-eared Horseshoe Bat||DD|
|Hipposideros diadema inornatus||Arnhem Leaf-nosed Bat||DD|
|Hipposideros stenotis||Northern Leaf-nosed Bat||DD|
|Taphozous kapalgensis||Arnhem Sheathtail Bat||DD|
|Saccolaimus mixtus||Papuan Sheathtail Bat||DD|
|Mormopterus loriae cobourgiana||Little North-western Freetail Bat||DD|
|Mormopterus norfolkensis||East Coast Freetail Bat||DD|
|Mormopterus sp.* (form sp. 6 in Adams et al. 1988)||Hairy Rostrum Freetail Bat||DD|
|Scotorepens sp.||Central-eastern Broad-nosed Bat||DD|
|Vespadelus douglasorum||Yellow-lipped Cave Bat||DD|
|Pteropus scapulatus||Little Red Flying-fox||LR (lc)|
|Pteropus alecto gouldi||Black Flying-fox||LR (lc)|
|Pteropus macrotis epularius||Large-eared Flying-fox||LR (lc)|
|Nyctimene robinsoni||Eastern Tube-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Syconycteris australis||Eastern Blossom Bat||LR (lc)|
|Macroglossus minimus nanus||Northern Blossom Bat||LR (lc)|
|Rhinolophus megaphyllus ignifer||Northern Horseshoe Bat||LR (lc)|
|Rhinolophus megaphyllus megaphyllus||Southern Horseshoe Bat||LR (lc)|
|Hipposideros ater aruensis||Eastern Dusky Leaf-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Hipposideros ater gilberti||Western Dusky Leaf-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Hipposideros cervinus||Fawn Leaf-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Hipposideros diadema reginae||Diadem Leaf-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Rhinonicteris aurantius||Orange Leaf-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Taphozous georgianus||Common Sheathtail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Taphozous hilli||Hill's Sheathtail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Saccolaimus flaviventris||Yellow-bellied Sheathtail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Tadarida australis||White-striped Freetail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Chaerephon jobensis plicatus||Northern Freetail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Mormopterus beccarii||Beccari's Freetail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Mormopterus loriae ridei||Little North-eastern Freetail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Mormopterus sp.* (form sp. 4, Populations P, Q and R, in Adams et al. 1988)||South-eastern Freetail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Mormopterus sp.* (form sp. 3 in Adams et al. 1988)||Inland Freetail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Mormopterus sp.* (form sp. 4, Population O in Adams et al. 1988)||South-western Freetail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Mormopterus sp.* (form sp. 2 in Adams et al. 1988)||Eastern Freetail Bat||LR (lc)|
|Chalinolobus gouldii||Gould's Wattled Bat||LR (lc)|
|Chalinolobus morio||Chocolate Wattled Bat||LR (lc)|
|Chalinolobus nigrogriseus||Hoary Wattled Bat||LR (lc)|
|Falsistrellus tasmaniensis||Eastern False Pipistrelle||LR (lc)|
|Miniopterus australis||Little Bent-wing Bat||LR (lc)|
|Miniopterus schreibersii orianae||Northern Bent-wing Bat||LR (lc)|
|Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis||Eastern Bent-wing Bat||LR (lc)|
|Myotis moluccarum||Northern Myotis||LR (lc)|
|Nyctophilus arnhemensis||Arnhem Long-eared Bat||LR (lc)|
|Nyctophilus bifax bifax||Northern Long-eared Bat||LR (lc)|
|Nyctophilus bifax daedelus||Pallid Long-eared Bat||LR (lc)|
|Nyctophilus geoffroyi||Lesser Long-eared Bat||LR (lc)|
|Nyctophilus gouldi||Gould's Long-eared Bat||LR (lc)|
|Nyctophilus timoriensis sherrini||Tasmanian Long-eared Bat||LR (lc)|
|Nyctophilus timoriensis major||Western Long-eared Bat||LR (lc)|
|Nyctophilus walkeri||Pygmy Long-eared Bat||LR (lc)|
|Pipistrellus adamsi||Cape York Pipistrelle||LR (lc)|
|Pipistrellus westralis||Northern Pipistrelle||LR (lc)|
|Scotorepens balstoni||Inland Broad-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Scotorepens greyii||Little Broad-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Scotorepens orion||South-eastern Broad-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Scotorepens sanborni||Northern Broad-nosed Bat||LR (lc)|
|Vespadelus baverstocki||Inland Forest Bat||LR (lc)|
|Vespadelus caurinus||Northern Cave Bat||LR (lc)|
|Vespadelus darlingtoni||Large Forest Bat||LR (lc)|
|Vespadelus finlaysoni||Finlayson's Cave Bat||LR (lc)|
|Vespadelus pumilus||Eastern Forest Bat||LR (lc)|
|Vespadelus regulus||Southern Forest Bat||LR (lc)|
|Vespadelus troughtoni||Eastern Cave Bat||LR (lc)|
|Vespadelus vulturnus||Little Forest Bat||LR (lc)|
CR = critically endangered
EN = endangered
VU = vulnerable
LR (nt) = lower risk near threatened
LR (cd) = lower risk conservation dependent
LR (lc) = lower risk least concern
DD = data deficient.
The criteria for allocating a status of CR, EN or VU to a taxon are shown in brackets (refer Appendix A for further detail).
Recovery outlines are provided for all taxa listed as Extinct, Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable. Briefer ‘Taxon Summaries’ are provided for taxa listed as Lower Risk (near threatened), Lower Risk (conservation dependent) and Data Deficient.
Recovery outlines provide estimated costs of staff and other resources for recovery of species. These are based on the best information provided to the authors, but should be considered as a guide only, rather than being definitive. It is envisaged that detailed costs will be worked out as Recovery Plans are developed. A summary of the estimated cost of implementing this Action Plan is provided at Appendix C.
Adams M., Reardon T.R., Baverstock P.R. and Watts C.H.S. 1988. Electrophoretic resolution of species boundaries in Australian Microchiroptera. IV. The Molossidae (Chiroptera). Australian Journal of Biological Sciences 41, 315–326.
IUCN 1994. IUCN Red List Categories. Prepared by the IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
Worthington-Wilmer J., Moritz C., Hall L. and Toop J. 1994. Extreme population structuring in the threatened Ghost Bat, Macroderma gigas: evidence from mitochondrial DNA. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London (1974) 257, 193–198.