Greater horseshoe bat

Here is a pictures from a Greater horseshoe bat

The Greater horseshoe is one of the rarest bat species of Central Europe. In Switzerland it is restricted to a few colonies in the Alps and close to the Jura mountains. In the late 1980s, the restoration of a church in Valais enabled us to improve roost conditions for the second largest nursery colony in Switzerland, which led to a subsequent population increase. The colony has been monitored continuously since then, with systematic ring-marking of the young cohorts. A capture-recapture analysis of these data within an integrated population dynamic modelling framework delivered crucial demographic information for a better preservation of this rare bat species beyond the study site. More recently we have run translocation experiments which proved suitable for the reinforcement of relict populations.

Uni Bern supervisors

Fabio Bontadina, Michael Schaub, Raphaël Arlettaz

External collaborator

Antoine Sierro, Swiss Ornithological Institute, Valais Field Station, Salquenen


Sierro, A., A. Lugon & R. Arlettaz. 2009. La colonie de grands rhinolophes Rhinolophus ferrumequinum de l’église St-Sylve à Vex (Valais, Suisse) : évolution sur deux décennies (1986-2006). Le Rhinolophe 18: 75-82. (PDF, 436KB)

Weinberger, I.C., F. Bontadina & R. Arlettaz. 2009. Translocation as a conservation tool to supplement relict bat colonies: a pioneer study with endangered horseshoe bats. Endangered Species Research 8: 41-48. (PDF, 307KB)

Schaub, M., O. Gimenez, A. Sierro & R. Arlettaz. 2007. Use of Integrated Modeling to Enhance Estimates of Population Dynamics Obtained from Limited Data. Conservation Biology 21: 945-955. (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Related Diploma/Master theses

Weinberger, I. 2007. Translocation as a conservation tool to supplement relict bat colonies: A pilot study with endangered horseshoe bats. Diploma Thesis, University of Bern.

Lugon, A. 1996. Ecologie du Grand Rhinolophe, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum (Chiroptera, Rhinolophidae) en Valais (Suisse): Habitat, Régime alimentaire et Stratégie de chasse. Diploma Thesis. University of Neuchâtel.