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Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens

AG Säugetierkunde in NRW

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Barbastella barbastellus




Foto: Holger Meinig
With a body length of 4.5 — 6 cm and a weight of 6 — 14 g, the Barbastelle is a medium-sized bat species. The fur is dense and silky coloured brown-black to black, and due to the yellow-white hair tips on the dorsal side, it looks as if it is frosted. The broad ear lobes are joined together in the centre of the head and, in some animals, display a knob-like small flap. Characteristic is the short stocky snout, which is blackish, like the other exposed skin parts. The wings are relatively broad and reach a wingspan of 26 — 29 cm with a forearm length of 36 — 44 cm. The Barbastelle prefers to occupy natural and richly structured forests of all kinds in the plains, in the hill country and in the mountains. It also frequently occurs in forest near orchards and park landscapes with bodies of running water and hedge areas.
Barbastelles hunt at canopy height in forests, parks and orchards, as well as at intermediate heights and above the ground along forest edges, trails, parkways and drainage ditches. They display a very manoeuvrable flight, mostly close to the vegetation. Activity spaces of Barbastelle colonies have a radius of up to 5 km, whereby juveniles and males on average hunt closer to the roosts than adult females.
In particular, food consists of small butterflies, such as snout moths (Pyralidae) and arctiid moths, but also Diptera, spiders and small beetles. The Barbastelle appears to sneak up on small butterflies capable of hearing using a reduced call volume.
Nursery roosts are occupied with 10 - 20 females (max. 100) preferably in narrow crevice hideouts, such as behind protruding bark on dead trees. Tree cavities, bat boxes, as well as crevices in and on buildings near forest areas are also accepted. Tree roosts are changed almost daily, while building roosts are often used for the entire summer. Males spend the summer alone or in small groups and also prefer crevice roosts behind bark but also use tree cavities and bat boxes.
Hibernacula of the Barbastelle were found behind tree bark, but also in abandoned railway tunnels, mines and cellars or in natural rock caves. In subterranean roosts, this very cold-hardy species often only moves in during frost periods. Single animals squeeze into narrow gaps, whereas groups often form free-hanging clusters in dry and partly quite drafty hanging places. Larger migratory movements are unknown. The normally philopatry animals can, under certain circumstances, cover distances of 150 km between winter and summer roosts. In North Rhine-Westphalia the species reaches its north-western distributional limit. The current distributional pattern is so far only known with gaps. In former times, the species generally occurred in Münsterland during the summer and in winter in roosts in the hill country; today, after the species practically disappeared in NRW, there are occurrences again in the Westphalian lowlands. Well-known nursery roosts are currently in Steinfurt and Borken counties.


Christina Backhaus


Backhaus C (2023): Mopsfledermaus (Barbastella barbastellus).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/03/27



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