Arax myotis - Myotis schaubi araxenus Dahl, 1947


Vesper bats - Vespertilionidae

Status. In the 1987 Red Data Book of Armenia it was listed as a subspecies of the Natterer’s myotis (Myotis nattereri), the Natterer’s Arax myotis. Now it is distinguished as a separate species within the Myotis genus. The species is listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 3.1) as Data Deficient DD. According to IUCN criteria categorized as Endangered EN B1a+2a.

Distribution. Occurs only in the southern part of the South Caucasus.

Distribution in Armenia. The Vayots Dzor (Vayk and Eghegnadzor districts) and Syunik (Kapan and Meghri districts) provinces.

Habitats. Inhabits caves, grottos, cliff crevices, tree hollows, cellars, outhouses and other similar places.

Biological traits. Reliable information is lacking. It is only known that in late June the female gives birth to one baby. Lives in small groups of 2–7 individuals.

Population size and its trends. An extremely rare and poorly studied species of limited distribution. Very low numbers make it highly prone to extinction. In 2005, a big maternal colony was found out in the Magili Cave where the total number of mothers and their babies was about 600.

Major threats. Human disturbance during the breeding and wintering seasons.

Conservation measures. Protected in Arevik National Park. Some caves are included to the list of natural monuments. It is essential to close human access to the caves inhabited by the Arax myotis.

© A. Chanchanyan

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Dal, 1947, 1954; Kuzyakin, 1950; Yavruyan, 1974, 1991; Red Data Book of the former Armenian SSR, 1987

Compiler. E. Yavruyan