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Acacia trees crucial to Israel's desert bats, study finds

Greater conservation of threatened acacia trees is needed to preserve vulnerable species of rare insectivorous bats in Israel, according to new research by biologists at the University of Bristol. Dense areas of flourishing acacia trees are in decline due to increasing water stress and the encroachment of human activity into their ecosystem, but such trees represent the only habitat that supports some rare and endangered species of bat.

In a study published today in PLOS ONE, Dr Marc Holderied and colleagues from Bristol's School of Biological Sciences and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel demonstrate the importance of dense acacia tree habitats for protected bats and their arthropod prey (for example, insects, spiders and scorpions) in comparison to other natural and artificial habitats.

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