Field observations in a maternity colony of Myotis emarginatus (Vespertilionidae) were made during the summers of 1986 and 1987 in southern Germany. The nursery colony consisted of about 90 adult and 30 juvenile bats which roosted in a dimly lit and relatively cool church attic. Telemetry data from six adult M. emarginatus disclosed that some individuals also use secondary day roosts in trees or small buildings located close to their foraging areas. During the night, radiotagged individuals spent most of the time on the wing in forested areas (Fig. 2). Stationary bouts lasted no longer than 63 min. Individual bats returned to the same foraging areas on consecutive nights. All major foraging areas were situated in or at the fringes of forests, at distances as far as 10 km from the nursery roost. During commuting flights to the forests, M. emarginatus avoided open fields and preferred flight paths which offered cover such as orchards, hedges, overhanging foliage along creeks, etc. On the way to the forests, the bats started to forage within buildings, in open spaces where aggregations of insects were present, and around or within the foliage of various types of trees at the level of tree tops or the upper third of the foliage. At these transient foraging areas close to the maternity roost, M. emarginatus displayed flexible foraging strategies: (1) They gleaned prey (mainly flies and spiders) from the substrate, (2) seized insects in aerial pursuit, and (3) occasionally hovered in front of foliage and walls.
Our observations confirm the conclusion from morphometric data on the wings that M. emarginatus is a predominantly gleaning bat and contradict the suggestion that it makes only brief flights of short distances. On the contrary, our field data suggest that M. emarginatus spends most of the night on the wing and commutes over distances of at least 10 km.