Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Chiroptera / Vespertilionidae / Eptesicus / Species
Eptesicus serotinus - Serotine (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
Click Photo for full-page view

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

APPEARANCE / MORPHOLOGY

LIFE STAGES / NATURAL DIET / PHYSIOLOGY

BEHAVIOUR

HABITAT & RANGE

CONSERVATION

Return to top of page

General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Vespertilio serotinus Schreber, 1774: France.

Alternative species names (the second part of the binomial species names): [Genus] albescens; [Genus] andersoni; [Genus] boscai; [Genus] brachydigitatis; [Genus] horikawai; [Genus] incisivus; [Genus] insularis; [Genus] intermedius; [Genus] isabellinus; [Genus] meridionalis; [Genus] mirza; [Genus] okenii; [Genus] pachyomus;  [Genus] pallens; [Genus] pashtonus; [Genus] rufescens; [Genus] shiraziensis; [Genus] sodalis; [Genus] transylvanicus; [Genus] turcomanicus; [Genus] typus; [Genus] wiedii (B141).

Names for new-borns / juveniles

 
Names for males  
Names for females  

Return to top of page

General Appearance

Large robust bat with brown/blackish fur often gold-tipped on back, and longish black ears (B142, B167)

Similar Species

Other bats. Differentiated by:
  • Simple nose shape (no horseshoe)
  • Ears well separated from one another at base
  • Post-calcarial lobe (long but narrow, ill-defined) present on membrane
  • Forearm more than 47mm long
  • Fur dark brown/blackish (base darkest, usually tips paler). Tragus less than half of conch length, finger-like, slightly curved with bluntly rounded tip. Free tail tip to 5-7mm beyond membrane
  • (B167, B142)

Very similar to Eptesicus nilssonii - Northern bat, which is smaller (forearm 37-44mm), with tail extending only 2-3 not 5mm or more beyond membrane, and fur warmer dark chestnut brown, gold tipped and contrasting with paler underfur (B142, B167).

Sexual Dimorphism --

Return to top of page

References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B51, B141, B142, B143, B147, B148, B167

Husbandry references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

  • --

Return to top of page

TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  •  

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  •  

Return to top of page

Husbandry Information

Notes

--
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

Return to top of page

Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

Length
  • Head-body length 58-80mm (B142).
  • Forearm 48-55mm (B142).
  • Wingspan 320-380mm (B142).
Height --
Adult weight General
  • 15-35g (about 20-24g for non-pregnant adults in summer) (B142).
  • 8-18g (B147).
Male --
Female
  • Weight may increase by up to 60% during pregnancy (B142).
New-born weight
Growth rate
  • About 16g by 5-6 weeks (B142).

Return to top of page

Head

General Skull: condylobasilar length 19-22mm (B142).

Nose: Bulbous muzzle

Ears: Length about twice width. Tragus less than half of conch height, broadest at about 1/3 of length, slight anterior curve to apical half, blunt tip (B142).

Dentition (Teeth)
  • Incisors: outer incisor definitely more than half of height of inner incisor.
  • Canines: conspicuously long.
  • Premolars: lower third premolar small with crown area less than half that of P4.
  • Molars: greatly reduced upper third molar.

(B142).

Eyes --

Return to top of page

Legs and Tracks

Wings: broad, with thick opaque membranes (B142).
  • Forearm 48-55mm (B142).
  • Wingspan 320-380mm (B142).

Return to top of page

Tail

Length: 34-65mm. About 6mm (5-7mm) (B167), (5-8mm) (B142) of tail projecting beyond membrane (part of penultimate caudal vertebra and whole of last vertebra free of membrane) (B142).

Return to top of page

Coat / Pelage

Adult Female Long hair.
  • Dorsal: dark brown; may have plum-purple or chestnut tinge, and often paler/golden tips to hairs.
  • Ventral: paler.
  • Face and ears: very dark brown-black.
  • Membranes: very dark brown-black

(B142, B167)

Variations (If present) --
Moult --
New-born / Juvenile
  • Very dark brown (B142).

Return to top of page

Neonate (New-born) Characteristics

--

Return to top of page

Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

--

Return to top of page

Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Reproductive Stages

Breeding Season
  • Mating September and October, occasionally later, recorded in captivity (B142)
Oestrus / Ovulation --
Gestation / Pregnancy --
Parturition / Birth
  • Early July (in Netherlands, mid-June) (B142).
Neonatal development
  • First few days: may possibly be carried.
  • 4-5 weeks old: first flights.
  • 5-6 weeks: suckling starts to be discouraged.
  • 50-70 days: epiphyses fuse
  • Two months: definitely weaned.

(B142)

Litter size
Time between Litters / Litters per year
  • One per year (B142).
Lactation / Milk Production
  • Two months (B142).
Sexual Maturity
  • Mating at 15 months with no sexual activity noted in first autumn (captive data) (B142).
  • Few nulliparous animals in breeding colonies, suggesting maturation in first year. (B142).
Longevity
  • High juvenile mortality, particularly in first week.
  • Longevity recorded (6 years) probably an underestimate.
  • In captivity: 3 years maximum

(B142).

Return to top of page

Natural Diet

Insects:
  • Beetles such as Aphodius spp., Necrophorus spp., Melolonthinae, (discard elytra of larger beetles) and large moths (discard legs and wings).
  • Chafer beetles important in spring and early summer, dung beetles important in autumn.
  • Also Dipteran and Nematoceran flies, and Hymenopterans.

(B142)

Return to top of page

Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

Temperature --
Pulse --
Respiration --
Faeces
  • 8-11mm long, 3.5-4.0mm wide, blunt ended, black and glistening when fresh (B142).
  • May be abundant in breeding roosts and sometimes a few droppings outside roost access point.
  • (B142)
Haematology / Biochemistry --
Chromosomes 2n = 50; FNa = 48-50 (B142).
Other --

Return to top of page

Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

  • Forages in open pasture/parkland/gardens, both in open spaces and around tree canopies, often touching vegetation.
  • Feed along roads and around street lamps.
  • Occasionally feed well inside beech woods.
  • Feed less in cooler weather.
  • Take prey in flight; probably also from vegetation.
  • Sometimes take insects from ground.
  • Ingest prey in flight; do not appear to use feeding perches.

(B142)

Return to top of page

Parental Behaviour

--

Return to top of page

Social Behaviour / Territoriality

Intra-specific
  • Colonies usually 15-30 individuals, occasionally to 60.
  • Males solitary or small groups.
  • Males may be found with females in spring, autumn.
  • Nursery colonies develop from May.
  • Usually high degree of site fidelity for maternal colonies but some show frequent changes of roost sites during breeding season.
  • Mostly disperse from breeding roosts by early September; some individuals may still be present to early October.

(B142)

Inter-specific
  • Often share roost building with other bat species: pipistrelles and long-eared bats.
  • Also recorded with Natterer's bats and sharing access with noctules.

(B142).

Return to top of page

Sexual Behaviour

  • Promiscuous (B142).
  • Mating may last several hours (B142).

Return to top of page

Predation in Wild

Owls (B142).

Return to top of page

Activity Patterns

  • Frequently fly at low levels.
  • Preferred temperature in autumn 5-11C in winter 0.5-6C (B142).
  • Occasionally hunt on warm days in winter.
  • Active from mid-April.
  • May enter roost without pause or circle around entrance for several minutes (particularly if several individuals returning at same time).

(B142)

Circadian
  • May be active chattering in roost for half hour before emergence.
  • Emerge early in evening (particularly early in the season).
  • Emergence complete within 40 minutes with most emerging over a period of just 10 minutes.
  • Return within 30-40 minutes early in season; later spend more time away from roost.
  • Some bats moving in and out of roost all night.
  • Second peak of activity around dawn.
  • May return well after first light.

(B142)

Return to top of page

Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

  • Lowland flat open country (pasture, parkland); also woodland edge, hedgerows, around white street lamps and gardens used for hunting.
  • Highly synthanthropic.
  • To 900m altitude in summer, 1100m in winter.

(B142, B143)

Return to top of page

Nests / Burrows / Shelters

Roosts: Buildings, particularly older buildings. High gable ends and cavity walls preferred. Roost in crevices around chimneys, in cavity walls, between felt/boarding and tiles/slates. Sometimes roost in open roost space at ridge ends and occasionally elsewhere along ridge. Also behind window shutters. Access at 6-8m or higher, at/near apex of gable or from lower eaves.

Occasionally found in tree hollows and (summer only) in bird boxes/bat boxes.

Hibernacula: Buildings. Occasionally caves, dungeons, cellars (particularly in eastern Europe).

(B142)

Return to top of page

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal
  • Palearctic: western Europe (range from about 30 to 58N) and eastwards to Korea, Thailand, China, Taiwan. Also north-west Africa, Morocco, Mediterranean Islands.

(B51, B142, B147)

  • In Britain: mostly South-East England (particularly Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire), but range may be expanding - has been recorded in Wales, Yorkshire, Norfolk and the west of England (B142).

Movement:

  • Usually only local movements, up to 50km. Movements of up to 330km have been recorded (B142, B143).
Occasional and Accidental --
Introduced

--.

Return to top of page

Conservation

Intraspecific variation

--

Return to top of page

Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

European population appears stable, but may be declines in some areas such as Germany; however recent expansion in Denmark (B142, B143).

General Legislation
  • Bern Convention, Appendix II
  • Bonn Convention, Appendix II.
  • EU Habitats and Species Directive, Annex IV

(B143)

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --
Captive Populations --
Trade --

Return to top of page