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Eastern long-eared bat

Common name: eastern long-eared bat, south-eastern long-eared bat

Scientific name: Nyctophilus corbeni (previously known as Nyctophilus timoriensis)

Family: Vespertilionidae

Conservation status: This species is listed as Vulnerable in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992) and nationally (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999). It is ranked as a medium priority under the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Back on Track species prioritisation framework.

Description

The eastern long-eared bat was previously considered to be a subspecies of the greater long-eared bat Nyctophilus timoriensis, but has since been described as a separate species (Parnaby 2009). 

This bat has long ears and a shallow muzzle ridge groove. The fur is dark grey-brown with slightly lighter tips. It weighs between 11-20 g, with females (14-21 g) usually heavier than males (11-15 g).  It has a head to body length of 50-75 mm, and a tail length of 35-50 mm.

Habitat and distribution

The eastern long-eared bat is found in the Murray-Darling basin of southern central Queensland, inland New South Wales, north-western Victoria and far-eastern South Australia. It is rarely recorded throughout most of its distribution, except for some parts of north-eastern New South Wales where it is more common.

In Queensland its preferred habitat is eucalypt woodland, although it has also been recorded from rainforest with hoop pines in the Bunya Mountains, and in semi evergreen vine thickets on the banks of the Dawson River. It is most abundant in vegetation with a distinct canopy and a dense cluttered shrub layer.

The eastern long-eared bat is thought to roost solitarily under the loose bark, and in the crevices and hollows of trees.

Life history and behaviour

The eastern long-eared bat hunts for insects in the air, from foliage and the ground. It eats beetles, bugs, moths, grasshoppers and crickets. These bats are thought to play an important role in controlling the abundance of foliage-feeding insects in remnant vegetation and rural areas.

This species has been found to range up to 7.06 km from its roost when foraging at night. Most roosts are used for just a single day before the bat moves to a new roost site, and it can move large distances (up to 5.88 km) between consecutive roost sites.

In Queensland, pregnant and lactating females have been trapped in November. These females are believed to roost in groups in larger tree hollows.

Threatening processes

Potential threats to this species include:

  • Habitat loss and fragmentation
  • Fires that destroy roosting sites and foraging habitat
  • Forestry activities
  • Overgrazing
  • Predation by feral species
  • Competition for tree hollows
  • Exposure to agrichemicals

Recovery actions

A recovery plan for the eastern long-eared bat is in preparation (Schultz and Lumsden 2010). The plan aims to secure the long-term protection of the species by reducing the impact of threatening processes, and improving the information available to guide recovery.

Recovery actions include:

  • Identify key populations and protect these from habitat loss and fragmentation;
  • Identify the key threats to the conservation of the species;
  • Manage key threats to reduce their impact on the species;
  • Identify the extent of population fragmentation and instigate measures to increase habitat connectivity where recent isolation has occurred;
  • Build community support for the conservation of the species;
  • Clarify the current fine-scale distribution patterns and habitat requirements across the species' range;
  • Increase the understanding of critical aspects of the biology and ecology of the eastern long-eared bat that will assist in the long-term management of the species.

Related information

Curtis, L, Dennis, A, McDonald, KR, Kyne, PM and Debus, SJS. 2012. Queensland’s Threatened Animals. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 2012. Nyctophilus corbeni in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. Accessed December 2012.

Duncan, A, Baker, GB and Montgomery, N (Eds.) 1999 The Action Plan for Australian Bats. Environment Australia, Canberra.

Churchhill, S 1998 Australian bats. New Holland, Sydney.

Parnaby, H 2009. A taxonomic review of Australian greater long-eared bats previously known as Nyctophilus timoriensis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) and some associated taxa, Australian Zoologist. 35,39-81.

Schulz, M. and Lumsden,L. 2010. (Draft) National Recovery Plan for the South-eastern Long-eared Bat Nyctophilus corbeni. Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Last updated
1 February 2013