Barbastelle, Barbastella barbastellus

The barbastelle or western barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus) is a bat that can be found in Europe. Its range is limited to a few breeding sites throughout its range, including Ebernoe Common in West Sussex and the Paston Great Barn in Norfolk in Britain. Its Britain range also includes Mottisfont woodland in Hampshire and certain areas of the Quantock Hills and Exmoor in Devon and Somerset. It does occur in the UK and although it was once thought to be extinct in Norway, recent sightings in 2004 and 2008 have shown this to be untrue. It prefers a habitat within old growth forests with damaged trees.

The barbastelle will roost within tree hollows or loose bark throughout the year, moving between different roosts frequently. It will typically use two types of echolocation calls. The first type consists of a call that reaches between 30 and 38 kHz that lasts about 2.5 milliseconds. This call is strongest when it reaches 33 kHz. The second type is longer, lasting about 4.1 milliseconds, and reaches between 29 and 47 kHz, peaking in strength at 38 kHz.

The barbastelle is rare throughout its range. In the UK, woodlands that contain this species are considered to become a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and are eligible for grant from the Natural Englands Environmental Stewardship program. The barbastelle is given protection by the European Habitats Directive and appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Near Threatened.â€

Image Caption: Barbastelle. Credit: Friedrich Specht/Wikipedia