Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 287–296 | Cite as

Green remnants are hotspots for bat activity in a large Brazilian urban area

  • Mona Lisa Veríssimo Silva de Araújo
  • Enrico BernardEmail author


Urbanization tends to remove or isolate green areas into fragments or restrict them to narrow corridors inserted in a matrix of buildings. Nevertheless, urban green areas may act as refuges for fauna and bats are among the animals able to use such habitats. Using bioacoustics we investigated the influence of green areas on the activity of insectivorous bats in the metropolitan area of Recife, a conurbation of 4 million people in the Atlantic forest of Northeastern Brazil. Bat activity was statistically higher in green areas, based on calls (t = 2.5298, p = 0.0165), but not on feeding buzzes (t = 1.8132, p = 0.0817) or social calls (t = −1.5551, p = 0.1329). Several species were able to persist in an urban matrix and calls were classified into 16 sonotypes, belonging to five families (Emballonuridae, Molossidae, Noctilionidae, Phyllostomidae and Vespertilionidae). However, activity was significantly more associated with areas with vegetation, indicating that green remnants are hotspots for bat activity. Our results indicate that most insectivorous bats have a biased use of the urban landscape and the maintenance of urban green areas is essential to preserve them and the environmental services they provide.


Activity Bioacoustics Chiroptera Echolocation Urban fauna 



We would like to thank the Departmento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, for supporting our research on urban bats. This manuscript is part of M.L.V.S.A.’s Honours Thesis at CCB - UFPE and we thank the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Programa Institucional de Bolsas de Iniciação Científica (PIBIC 12023649) for the grant received. Carina Rodrigues Silva provided support with sonotype classification. We thank Dr. M.B. Fenton, two anonymous reviewers and the Associate Editor Dr. Charles Nilon for comments on this manuscript.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 8751 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mona Lisa Veríssimo Silva de Araújo
    • 1
  • Enrico Bernard
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratório de Ciência Aplicada à Conservação da Biodiversidade, Departamento de ZoologiaUniversidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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