The distribution of foraging Myotis daubentonii and Pipistrellus pipistrellus bats (Vespertilionidae) was investigated along an upland river in relation to the smoothness of the water surface and the extent of bankside vegetation. It was found that both bat species significantly preferred sections of the river with smooth water surfaces and trees on both banks. The abundance of insects flying just above the water surface was also significantly greater in sections with a smooth water surface with trees on both sides. The distribution of bats thus probably correlated with the higher densities of insects, and may also have been related to the avoidance of noise from rough water areas which interferes with echolocation. The results suggest that in upland river systems, maintenance and enhancement of bankside vegetation and tree cover in association with the maintenance and enhancement of a mosaic of water surfaces (to include some smooth water where trees are present) will increase the value of the riverine habitat to bats.
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