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Bechstein's bat (Myotis bechsteinii) is a species of vesper bat found in Europe and western Asia, living in extensive areas of woodland.
It is a medium-sized and relatively long-eared bat. The adult has a long, fluffy fur which is reddish-brown above and gray-white below. It has a pinkish face, and its ears are long and broad. The wings are dark brown and rather broad, with the membrane attached to the base of the feet.
It has a rather delicate and fluttering flight, and is adapt at catching moths and other small nocturnal insects. Tree holes are used for roosting and hibernation during the winter. Mating happens in autumn, and delayed fertilization means that young (one per female) are born early in the following summer.
Bechstein's bat can be found in the following countries: Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Liechtenstein, Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Iran.
It will both roost and forage in suitable woodland of at least 25 hectares (62 acres) in size, and only rarely ventures outside them.
In the United Kingdom, Bechstein's bat is most commonly found in the Forest of Dean and Herefordshire; however, a single male was caught and recorded near Colby in Southern Pembrokeshire.
Bechstein's bat is protected under the European Habitats Directive.
In the UK it is one of the region's rarest and most endangered species, where it likely that no more than 1,000 individuals exist in the whole region. Woodlands containing it may be considered for notification as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and may attract a grant under Natural Englands Environmental Stewardship scheme. On the rare chance one is spotted in the wild, authorities suggest immediately reporting it to a local batgroup or the wildlife trust.
The frequencies used by this bat species for echolocation lie between 35 and 108 kHz. Its echolocation calls have the most energy at 61 kHz, and have an average duration of 3.3 ms. Most of its echolocation is in the 50-60 kHz range.
- Hutson, A.M., Spitzenberger, F., Tsytsulina, K., Aulagnier, S., Juste, J., Karataş, A., Palmeirim, J. & Paunović, M. (2008). Myotis bechsteinii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Sterry, Paul (2005). Complete British animals. London: Collins. p. 48. ISBN 9780007201372.
- National Biodiversity Network website map.
- Parsons, S. and Jones, G. (2000) 'Acoustic identification of twelve species of echolocating bat by discriminant function analysis and artificial neural networks.' J Exp Biol., 203: 2641-2656.
- Obrist, M.K., Boesch, R. and Flückiger, P.F. (2004) 'Variability in echolocation call design of 26 Swiss bat species: Consequences, limits and options for automated field identification with a synergic pattern recognition approach.' Mammalia., 68 (4): 307-32.
- Woodland Management For Bats Guide
- Media related to Myotis bechsteinii at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Myotis bechsteinii at Wikispecies