Recently, a number of studies demonstrated the suitability of hair analysis to assess metal exposure of bats. As many bat species are endangered, such a non-destructive method is particularly suited for this taxon. The present study analyzed the levels of two non-essential (cadmium and lead) and four essential metals (copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc) in hairs of three ecologically similar, sympatric bat species, Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii), Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri), and Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) from an area in Central Hesse (Germany), as well as metal concentrations in soil samples from the bats’ foraging habitats. Applying a previously established protocol, the analyses were performed using microwave-assisted extraction followed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. Cadmium and lead concentrations in hair did not differ significantly among the three studied species, whereas the following significant differences existed for levels of essential metals in hair. Manganese concentrations in hair were higher in M. bechsteinii and P. auritus than in M. nattereri and Cu concentrations were higher in M. nattereri than in P. auritus. Myotis bechsteinii showed higher Zn concentrations compared to P. auritus and lower Mo concentrations compared to M. nattereri. Reasons for the observed differences among the three studied species could be differential exposure to these metal elements in their foraging areas, related to variation in the species composition of their arthropod diet in combination with different metal levels in the respective prey species, and/or species-specific requirements for essential metals and related variation in physiological regulation of these elements in the bats.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 6, 2017
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