OCCURRENCE

Bat species richness and activity in Dghoumes National Park (Southwest Tunisia): a preliminary survey

Latest version published by Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona on 26 August 2020 Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona
Bat fauna in eight of the main habitat types of Dghoumes National Park was inventoried using mist–netting, acoustic detection and roost search. Bats were active at night and recorded near water bodies and streetlamps. We recorded the echolocation calls of six bat species: Eptesicus isabellinus, Pipistrellus kuhlii, Vansonia rueppellii, Asellia tridens, Tadarida teniotis and Rhinopoma cystops. Two bat colonies containing 111 individuals of R. cystops were found roosting in Jebel Morra cave and 54 individuals of A. tridens were found roosting in the ceiling of the Ecomuseum. Due to potential disturbance by visitors to the museum, we suggest strengthening management practices to ensure the usage of this roosting site in order to promote the conservation of A. tridens.

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Dalhoumi, R., Aissa, P., Beyrem, H., Aulagnier, S., 2018. Bat species richness and activity in Dghoumes National Park (Southwest Tunisia): a preliminary survey. Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona. Dataset/Occurrence: https://doi.org/10.15470/0u03uz

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The publisher and rights holder of this work is Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

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This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 3abc2cac-92d8-49d4-9336-f0653b57da2a.  Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by GBIF Spain.

Keywords

Chiroptera; Acoustic; Night activity; Water bodies; Northwest Africa; Occurrence

Contacts

Who created the resource:

Ridha Dalhoumi

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Ridha Dalhoumi
Patricia Aissa
Université de Carthage
Zarzouna
TN
Hamouda Beyrem
Université de Carthage
Zarzouna
TN
Stéphane Aulagnier
INRAE, Université de Toulouse
Castanet–Tolosan
FR

Who filled in the metadata:

Montse Ferrer
Managing Editor
Arxius de Miscel·lània Zoològica, Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona
Ps Picasso s/n.
08003 Barcelona
Barcelona
ES

Who else was associated with the resource:

Content Provider
Montse Ferrer
Managing Editor AMZ
Arxius de Miscel·lània Zoològica, Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona
Ps Picasso s/n.
08003 Barcelona
Barcelona
ES

Geographic Coverage

Dghoumes National Park (34º 01' N–34º 06' N, 8º 28' E–8º 39' E) is located 30 km east of Degueche (Tozeur governorate, southwest Tunisia) (fig. 1). The park covers approximately 8,000 ha. It borders with Chott el–Jérid in the south and the mountain ridge of Jebel Morra, Jebel El Kebiriti and Jebel Taferma in the north. The southern flank of the mountain range is cut through by wadis (Tamaxid, El Akreb, El Behim, El Kebiriti, Bou Moussa, El Oussif) that flow to Chott el–Jérid across a broad sandy plain (3,800 ha). The park has two small hillside lakes (Marzoug and Tamxid basins) and several permanent ponds (Sassia pond, El Kebiriti pond, and others).

Bounding Coordinates South West [34.04, 8.49], North East [34.07, 8.6]

Taxonomic Coverage

No Description available

Family  Hipposideridae,  Vespertilionidae,  Rhinopomatidae,  Molossidae
Species  Vansonia rueppellii,  Tadarida teniotis,  Rhinopoma cystops,  Pipistrellus kuhlii,  Eptesicus isabellinus,  Asellia tridens

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2018-06-16 / 2018-06-24

Project Data

With more than 1,421 species (Simmons and Cirranellon, 2020), Chiroptera is the second most speciose mammalian order in the world, constituting about a quarter of all mammal species (Hutson et al., 2001; Wilson and Reeder, 2005). Bats have colonized all continents except Antarctica, with different levels of species richness (Owen, 1990; Georgiakakis et al., 2010; Curran et al., 2012; Fenton and Simmons, 2014; Weber and Cáceres, 2018). Bat species richness peaks in equatorial zones and is lowest in desert areas (Ramos Pereira and Palmeirim, 2013; Monadjem et al., 2018). As for other North–western African countries (Ahmim and Oubaziz, 2017 for Algeria; Aulagnier et al., 2017 for Morocco), few data have been collected in Tunisia from sub–Saharan and Saharan areas (Dalhoumi et al., 2011; Puechmaille et al., 2012). The first data on southern Tunisian bats were published by Baker et al. (1974) and Cockrum (in Dalhoumi et al., 2011). These authors recorded 6 bat species: Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Asellia tridens, Eptesicus isabellinus, Pipistrellus kuhlii, Plecotus gaisleri and Myotis punicus. Later, Rebelo and Brito (2006) studied bat activity in several Tunisian desert localities but they did not provide details about species diversity. More recently, Bendjeddou et al. (2016) described a new species, Nyctinomus aegyptiacus, for the Tunisian fauna during a touristic visit. To date, only 47 records corresponding to 13 species of bats have been made for this area. In addition, little ecological information is available for the most common areas that cover around a third of the country. The lack of knowledge of bat fauna in Tunisia requires intensive surveys focusing mainly on habitat use in this harsh environment. Bat acoustic surveys are standard in Europe and recommended for surveillance and monitoring of many species (Battersby, 2010). Acoustic monitoring in Northern Africa only started in the last decade (Dietz et al., 2007; Liéron et al., 2008; Benda et al., 2010; Dieuleveut et al., 2010; Disca et al., 2014), including surveys in Tunisia by Rebelo and Brito (2006) and Puechmaille et al. (2012). More recently, Dalhoumi et al. (2014, 2016, 2019) studied bat activity and habitat use in Tunisian localities and showed that acoustic monitoring is useful to study bats in this type of ecosystems as it can more accurately describe the species richness than methods such as mist–netting and cave monitoring. Due to logistic constraints, acoustic monitoring was often limited to only recording bat activity during the first part of the night, however, modern automatic bat detectors are now widely available and can record bat calls overnight (e.g. Adams et al., 2012). The goal of this study was to obtain information on bat species richness and habitat use in a desert area in Tunisian. We recorded bat activity in eight sites at Dghoumes National Park during the nursing season, when bats are most active. This survey aimed to assess activity patterns of bats at Dghoumes National Park and identify their most important habitats. Understanding bat activity and diversity could provide information relevant to the conservation of several species within and outside the limits of the park.

Title Bat species richness and activity in the Dghoumes National Park (Southwest Tunisia): a preliminary survey
Study Area Description Dghoumes National Park (34º 01' N–34º 06' N, 8º 28' E–8º 39' E) is located 30 km east of Degueche (Tozeur governorate, southwest Tunisia) (fig. 1). The park covers approximately 8,000 ha. It borders with Chott el–Jérid in the south and the mountain ridge of Jebel Morra, Jebel El Kebiriti and Jebel Taferma in the north. The southern flank of the mountain range is cut through by wadis (Tamaxid, El Akreb, El Behim, El Kebiriti, Bou Moussa, El Oussif) that flow to Chott el–Jérid across a broad sandy plain (3,800 ha). The park has two small hillside lakes (Marzoug and Tamxid basins) and several permanent ponds (Sassia pond, El Kebiriti pond, and others). The bioclimate is arid with cool winters. The annual rainfall is about 100 mm/year. The average temperature ranges from –3 ºC in winter to more than 50 ºC in the summer. Evaporation reaches 1,200 mm/year. The sirocco wind blows for more than 50 days/year, especially in the summer (A. Chetoui, pers. comm.). The dominant biome is steppe with herbaceous vegetation such as Suaeda mollis, Zygophyllum album, Salsola tetrandra, Traganum nudatum, Artemisia campestris, Rhus tripartitum, Periploca laevigata and Retama retam, and sparse trees of Acacia tortilis raddiana and Tamarix aphylla. The main terrestrial mammals are Ctenodactylus gundi, Hyaena hyaena, Lepus capensis, Ammotragus lervia and reintroduced Oryx dammah and Gazella dorcas (Jebali, 2012).
Design Description From June 16 to 24, 2018, we studied bat activity at eight sites of Dghoumes National Park (fig. 1): 1) at the main entrance to the park, which is illuminated by solar white streetlamps (34º 2' 30.62'' N, 8º 33' 51.95'' E); 2) at Tamxid basin (34°º 3' 53.93'' N, 8º 31' 13.27'' E) with a wet sludge; 3) at Marzoug basin (34º 3' 57.73'' N, 8º 29' 38.31'' E) with a dry sludge; 4) at El Kebiriti pond (34º 3' 57.19'' N, 8º 33' 8.42'' E); 5) at Sassia pond (34' 4º 15.44'' N, 8º 31' 13.24'' E); 6) at Jmal Ribeh pond (34º 4' 14.80'' N, 8º 29' 55.83'' E) surrounded by phragmites and sunk into high banks; 7) at the dry wadi El Oussif (34º 2' 53.24'' N, 8º 33' 31.56'' E) with some retama bushes; and 8) at a plain (34º 2' 55.13'' N, 8º 33' 59.12'' E) characterized by sparse vegetation and five small water bodies. Each site was surveyed for one night under similar hot and dry weather conditions. We usedautomatic echolocation call recordings at fixed points starting 30 minutes before sunset and lasting 30 minutes after sunrise. A Song Meter SM2BAT+ recorder (Wildlife Acoustic, Inc. Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) was connected to a BMX–US1 ultrasonic microphone by a 3 m cable (Biotope, France). Real–time recordings were made at a sampling frequency of 384 kHz and an activation frequency of –18bB and 8 Hz. Recorded sequences were unzipped, analyzed and split into 5–second sequences with Kaleidoscope (Wildlife Acoustic, Inc. Version 4.1.0a). Only 5–second sequences containing bat calls were analyzed using the real–time analysis software BatSound, v.3.10 (Petterson Elektronik AB) for spectrogram analyses. We used a simple frequency of 38,400 samples/s, 16 bits/sample and selected 512 pt FFT with a Hamming window for analysis (Russ, 1999). Recorded calls, including feeding and drinking buzzes, were manually identified to species level using shape and other call parameters (Barataud, 2012). Echolocation calls of Tadarida teniotis, Eptesicus isabellinus, Pipistrellus kuhlii and Rhinopoma cystops were identified using reference calls collected in various sites in Tunisia (Dalhoumi et al., 2014, 2016, 2019). Asellia tridens uses a typical signal with constant frequency at 108–122 kHz (Jones et al., 1993). Vansonia rueppellii was identified by shallow FM/QCF calls at a frequency of maximum energy of 53.6 ± 1.3 kHz (Disca et al., 2014). A specimen of this species has been previously mist–netted at the entrance of the park and recorded after release during a visit on April 2, 2010. Additionally, temperature and hygrometry were recorded every 30 minutes during the nights of June 17–18 and 21–22 using a C.A. 846 pocket thermo–hygrometer (Chauvin Arnoux, Taiwan; precision ± 0.5 ºC and ± 2.5 % RH) for potential bat roosts in caves, crevices and buildings, and visually counted emerging or resting individuals.

The personnel involved in the project:

Sampling Methods

Data collection and species identification From June 16 to 24, 2018, we studied bat activity at eight sites of Dghoumes National Park (fig. 1): 1) at the main entrance to the park, which is illuminated by solar white streetlamps (34º 2' 30.62'' N, 8º 33' 51.95'' E); 2) at Tamxid basin (34°º 3' 53.93'' N, 8º 31' 13.27'' E) with a wet sludge; 3) at Marzoug basin (34º 3' 57.73'' N, 8º 29' 38.31'' E) with a dry sludge; 4) at El Kebiriti pond (34º 3' 57.19'' N, 8º 33' 8.42'' E); 5) at Sassia pond (34' 4º 15.44'' N, 8º 31' 13.24'' E); 6) at Jmal Ribeh pond (34º 4' 14.80'' N, 8º 29' 55.83'' E) surrounded by phragmites and sunk into high banks; 7) at the dry wadi El Oussif (34º 2' 53.24'' N, 8º 33' 31.56'' E) with some retama bushes; and 8) at a plain (34º 2' 55.13'' N, 8º 33' 59.12'' E) characterized by sparse vegetation and five small water bodies.

Study Extent Dghoumes National Park (34º 01' N–34º 06' N, 8º 28' E–8º 39' E) is located 30 km east of Degueche (Tozeur governorate, southwest Tunisia) (fig. 1). The park covers approximately 8,000 ha. It borders with Chott el–Jérid in the south and the mountain ridge of Jebel Morra, Jebel El Kebiriti and Jebel Taferma in the north. The southern flank of the mountain range is cut through by wadis (Tamaxid, El Akreb, El Behim, El Kebiriti, Bou Moussa, El Oussif) that flow to Chott el–Jérid across a broad sandy plain (3,800 ha). The park has two small hillside lakes (Marzoug and Tamxid basins) and several permanent ponds (Sassia pond, El Kebiriti pond, and others). The bioclimate is arid with cool winters. The annual rainfall is about 100 mm/year. The average temperature ranges from –3 ºC in winter to more than 50 ºC in the summer. Evaporation reaches 1,200 mm/year. The sirocco wind blows for more than 50 days/year, especially in the summer (A. Chetoui, pers. comm.). The dominant biome is steppe with herbaceous vegetation such as Suaeda mollis, Zygophyllum album, Salsola tetrandra, Traganum nudatum, Artemisia campestris, Rhus tripartitum, Periploca laevigata and Retama retam, and sparse trees of Acacia tortilis raddiana and Tamarix aphylla. The main terrestrial mammals are Ctenodactylus gundi, Hyaena hyaena, Lepus capensis, Ammotragus lervia and reintroduced Oryx dammah and Gazella dorcas (Jebali, 2012).
Quality Control Statistical analyses Bat activity was estimated by counting the number of passes (Russo and Jones, 2003). A bat pass was defined as a single or several calls emitted by a single animal during a 5 s interval (Barataud, 2012). Within each night, we considered 19 periods of 30 minutes to investigate activity patterns; the number of bat passes recorded during each period was used as a proxy of bat activity. Call recordings were used to calculate species richness at each site. Bat community analysis was performed using the number of bat passes. We used Kruskal–Wallis tests, followed by post–hoc multiple comparison tests, and Friedman tests to assess differences in bat activity among sites and periods. Statistical analyses were performed with Tanagra v.5, ’97 edition (Rakotomalala, 2005).

Method step description:

  1. Each site was surveyed for one night under similar hot and dry weather conditions. We usedautomatic echolocation call recordings at fixed points starting 30 minutes before sunset and lasting 30 minutes after sunrise. A Song Meter SM2BAT+ recorder (Wildlife Acoustic, Inc. Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) was connected to a BMX–US1 ultrasonic microphone by a 3 m cable (Biotope, France). Real–time recordings were made at a sampling frequency of 384 kHz and an activation frequency of –18bB and 8 Hz. Recorded sequences were unzipped, analyzed and split into 5–second sequences with Kaleidoscope (Wildlife Acoustic, Inc. Version 4.1.0a). Only 5–second sequences containing bat calls were analyzed using the real–time analysis software BatSound, v.3.10 (Petterson Elektronik AB) for spectrogram analyses. We used a simple frequency of 38,400 samples/s, 16 bits/sample and selected 512 pt FFT with a Hamming window for analysis (Russ, 1999). Recorded calls, including feeding and drinking buzzes, were manually identified to species level using shape and other call parameters (Barataud, 2012). Echolocation calls of Tadarida teniotis, Eptesicus isabellinus, Pipistrellus kuhlii and Rhinopoma cystops were identified using reference calls collected in various sites in Tunisia (Dalhoumi et al., 2014, 2016, 2019). Asellia tridens uses a typical signal with constant frequency at 108–122 kHz (Jones et al., 1993). Vansonia rueppellii was identified by shallow FM/QCF calls at a frequency of maximum energy of 53.6 ± 1.3 kHz (Disca et al., 2014). A specimen of this species has been previously mist–netted at the entrance of the park and recorded after release during a visit on April 2, 2010. Additionally, temperature and hygrometry were recorded every 30 minutes during the nights of June 17–18 and 21–22 using a C.A. 846 pocket thermo–hygrometer (Chauvin Arnoux, Taiwan; precision ± 0.5 ºC and ± 2.5 % RH) for potential bat roosts in caves, crevices and buildings, and visually counted emerging or resting individuals.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Dalhoumi, R., Aissa, P., Beyrem, H., Aulagnier, S., 2018. Bat species richness and activity in Dghoumes National Park (Southwest Tunisia): a preliminary survey. Arxius de Miscel·lània Zoològica, 18: 89–100 https://doi.org/10.32800/amz.2020.18.0089

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers 10.15470/0u03uz
3abc2cac-92d8-49d4-9336-f0653b57da2a
https://ipt.gbif.es/resource?r=quiroptera_tunisia