Lesser Horseshoes, Museums and DNA

As part of the East Lancs Bat Group research into Lesser Horseshoe Bats in Bowland, Lancashire I headed over to York Museum over the Easter break to sample the Lesser Horseshoe bats in their collections to enable us to carry out some dna analysis.

Lesser Horseshoe bats in the Adam Gordan collection

Lesser Horseshoe bats in the Adam Gordan collection

The Adam Gordan collection is interesting as it provides voucher specimens of two species until recently thought to be extinct in the North; Lesser Horseshoe and Barbastelle bat. In fact the Barbastelles in the collection are voucher specimens for the first Yorkshire record of the species in 1920.

Museum collections such as these which are accompanied by good date and location data are highly important now that dna anaylsis is an affordable tool for bat researchers and groups to use.

In the case of our Lesser Horseshoe research we’re hoping that comparison between former northern range specimens and our current Lancashire population will prove that our bats are a remnant population rather than a recent expansion. Comparison with other current UK populations is hinting at it, but hopefully we’ll have an answer just as soon as the results come back.

There’s a similar bit of research with Barbastelles just waiting for someone to carry it out there. Anyone?