- Vespertilio serotinus Schreber, 1774
Be (II); Bo (EUROBATS); EUHD (IV); RDBUkr: Вразливі
Value of species
The North African population has been named as a subspecies (E. s. isabellinus) and is considered by some authors to be a separate species (e.g., Mayer et al. 2007). This may or may not be conspecific with the population in southern Iberia. Until this is resolved they are all treated as E. serotinus.
Eptesicus serotinus is widely distributed through the Palaearctic from the Atlantic to the Pacific seaboards, across the Mediterranean from Portugal eastwards to Turkey, and is marginal to North Africa. It occurs north to about 57ºN in Denmark, south-west to North Africa (found in Morocca, Algeria, Tunisia, and to western Libya), and east into northern parts of the Indian subcontinent and south-east Asia. In the Middle East it is recorded from Syria and Lebanon. Records from the Canary Islands (Lanzarote) refer to a single vagrant that died shortly after arrival (Trujillo 1991). Its altitudinal range is from sea level to to 1,440 m in the Alps (Spitzenberger 2002).
A very widespread and abundant species, with decreases recorded in some areas and increases in others. It may be increasing in some parts of northern Europe (e.g. Denmark) and decreasing in others, slightly (e.g. UK), or severely (e.g. Austria). In Austria, a 70% decline has been recorded in the eastern part of the country (the former stronghold) over the last 15 years, and the species is now absent from lowland regions with bare arable land (F. Spitzenberger pers. comm. 2006). It is suspected to be declining in the rest of Pannonian basin. It is known from a single locality in European Turkey, and the total population in Turkey is small (A. Karatas pers. comm. 2005). In Iran it is at the edge of the its range, the species occurs in low numbers (M. Sharifi pers. comm. 2005). There is a large North African population: it is the most common bat species in northwest Algeria and Libya.
Summer maternity colony size is generally 10-50 females (occasionally up to 300). It winters singly or in small groups.
Found in a variety of habitats across its wide range including semi-desert, temperate and subtropical dry forest, Mediterranean-type shrubland, farmland and suburban areas. Favoured feeding areas include pasture, parkland, open woodland edge, tall hedgerows, gardens, and forested regions. Feeds on larger beetles, moths and flies.
Most summer (maternity) colonies are in buildings and occasionally tree holes or rock fissures.
In winter it roosts singly or in small numbers in buildings and rock crevices, or often in underground habitats in north central Europe. Winter roosts are usually in fairly cold, dry sites. It is a largely sedentary species, with movements to 330 km recorded (Havekost 1960 in Hutterer et al. 2005).
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