Temporal mismatches in flight activity patterns between Pipistrellus kuhlii and Prays oleae in olive farms: implications for biocontrol services potential.

Published online
15 Jun 2024
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Herrera, J. M. & Carvalho, A. & Barreiro, S. & Jiménez-Navarro, G. & Melguizo-Ruiz, N. & Beja, P. & Moreira, F. & Vasconcelos, S. & Morgado, R. & Silva, B.
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enThis link goes to a English sectionptThis link goes to a English section Biocontrol services are widely recognized to provide key incentives for bat conservation. However, we have virtually no information on whether and how disruptions in bat-mediated biocontrol services are driven by mismatches between the temporal activity patterns of insectivorous bats and insect pests. We investigated the temporal relationship between the nightly activity patterns of the common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus kuhlii) and the olive fruit moth (Prays oleae). Temporal mismatches between species pairs were estimated as the time difference (expressed as a percentage of the night) at which P. kuhlii and P. oleae reached 50% of their abundance. The study was carried out during spring, summer, and fall between 2017 and 2019 in 60 olive farms representing increasing levels of structural simplification (as a surrogate of agricultural intensification). Olive farms were classified as exhibiting high (i.e. HIGH olive farms; n = 27), intermediate (MID; n = 18), and low (LOW; n = 15) structural complexity. Temporal mismatches between the activity levels of P. kuhlii and P. oleae varied between seasons and types of olive farms, being comparatively lower in summer than in spring and fall. Furthermore, summer was the only season in which temporal mismatches between species pairs differed between types of olive farms, with higher temporal mismatches found in LOW than in HIGH and MID olive farms. Overall, our work demonstrates the existence of temporal mismatches between the nightly activity patterns of P. kuhlii and P. oleae. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the structural simplification of olive farms increases temporal mismatches between species pairs, particularly in summer when bat-mediated biocontrol services are most needed. Synthesis and applications. Future research should consider mismatches between the temporal activity patterns of insectivorous bats and insect pests. Otherwise, the actual impact of agricultural intensification on bat-mediated biocontrol services as well as the economic impact of their loss on the agriculture industry might be underestimated. To enhance biocontrol services, we propose increasing the availability of suitable roosting and foraging sites as well as conserving areas of remnant native woodland and scattered hollow-bearing trees.

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