Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Chiroptera / Vespertilionidae / Myotis / Species
Myotis bechsteinii - Bechstein's bat (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)








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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Murin de Bechstein (French)
  • Bechsteinfledermaus (German)
  • Murciélago de Bechstein (Spanish)
  • Vespertilio bechsteinii Kuhl, 1818; Germany.
  • Selyusius bechsteini
  • Myotis bechsteini

Alternative species names (the second part of the binomial species names): [Genus] favonicus; [Genus] ghidinii; (B141).

Names for new-borns / juveniles

Names for males --
Names for females --

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General Appearance

Medium-sized bat, light brown with paler underparts, bare pink face, broad and slightly pointed wings, opaque mid/dark brown membranes, relatively long ears well separated at base (B142).

Similar Species

Distinguished from non-Myotis bat species in Britain and Ireland by combination of:
  • Simple form of nose
  • Wide-spaced ears
  • Lack of post-calcarial lobe to membrane.

Distinguished from other Myotis spp.:

  • Forearm less than 50mm long.
  • Ears more than 18mm long (20-26mm (B142)): long and shiny.
  • (B167).

Generally similar to Myotis nattereri - Natterer's bat, but:

  • Lacks reddish colouring to membranes;
  • Ears longer - half of ear length will extend beyond nose if ears laid forward.
  • Lacks any hairs on edge of tail (interfemoral) membrane.
  • (B142, B167)

Other species with long ears (long-eared bats) have much longer ears (75%) of head-body length) and the ears are close together on the head (B142).

Sexual Dimorphism --

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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B51, B141, B142, B143, B147, B167, B221

Husbandry references:

(UK Contacts)

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

  • --

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

Parent Group

  • Insectivorous Bats (Microchiroptera)

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Insectivorous Bats (Microchiroptera)

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Husbandry Information


Survival in captivity for 172 days recorded (B142).
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

  • Head-body length 43-50mm (B142).
  • Forearm length 38-45mm (B142).
  • Wingspan 250-300mm (B142).
Height --
Adult weight General 7-13g (B142).
Male --
Female --
New-born weight --
Growth rate --

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General Skull: Condylobasilar length 16-17mm (B142)

Nose: Muzzle narrow, unspecialised.

Ears: Well spaced. Held upright. Long (20-26mm), thin, translucent and shiny, with half of length extending beyond muzzle if ears laid forwards. Opaque, mid/dark brown. Emargination on outer margin. No post-calcarial lobe. Tragus barely half of ear length, narrow, with straight anterior and posterior margins. Curl back when disturbed.

(B142, B167)

Dentition (Teeth) I 2/3, C1/1, P3/3, M3/3 (B142).
Eyes --

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Legs and Tracks

Thumbs very long (B167).
  • Forearm length: 38-45mm (B142)
  • Wingspan: 250-300mm (B142)

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Coat / Pelage

Adult Female Shaggy fur (B167).
  • Dorsal: light brown (B142) or yellowish-buff (B167).
  • Ventral: greyish-buff to white (B142).
  • Face: bare, pink.
  • Membranes: brown, translucent (B167); opaque mid to dark brown (B142).
Variations (If present) --
Moult --
New-born / Juvenile --

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Neonate (New-born) Characteristics


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


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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Reproductive Stages

Breeding Season --
Oestrus / Ovulation --
Gestation / Pregnancy --
Parturition / Birth --
Neonatal development --
Litter size --
Time between Litters / Litters per year --
Lactation / Milk Production --
Sexual Maturity --
Longevity Greatest recorded age 7 years old (B142).

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Natural Diet

  • Lepidoptera, Diptera, Planipennia; also non-flying arthropods (B143).
  • Mainly moths (B142).
  • Enallagma cyathigerum - Damsel fly recorded (B142).

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

Temperature --
Pulse --
Respiration --
Faeces --
Haematology / Biochemistry --
Chromosomes 2n = 44; FNa = 52 (B142).
Other --

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Feeding Behaviour

  • Feed in forests and forest edges.
  • Catch prey in flight and from surfaces (vegetation and ground).
  • Eat prey in flight.
  • Drink on the wing.

(B142, B143)

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Parental Behaviour


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Social Behaviour / Territoriality

  • Form small nursery colonies (females only) in summer.
  • Males solitary in summer.


  • Females remain in natal group and males emigrate (B143).
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Promiscuous (B142).

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

  • Flight: slow, usually low, up to 15m above ground. Wings held rather stiffly (B142).
  • Roosting: always hanging, usually hanging freely but sometimes in crevices (B142).
Circadian Emerge from roost about 20 minutes after sunset (B142).

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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

  • Forests: natural, mainly deciduous, with high proportion of old trees.
  • Also orchards, parks.
  • Mature beeches and oaks in environmental forestry areas hold highest population densities.

(B142, B143)

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

  • Roosts: in tree holes (summer and winter). Also known to use bat boxes for nesting colonies. Rarely in a house. Rarely individuals found in caves in winter (B142).
  • Winter: underground and perhaps hollow trees (B143).
  • Will use both bird boxes and bat boxes where provided (B143).

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

  • Western and central Europe from Iberian Peninsula eastwards to Ukraine and Moldove, Asia Minor to Caucasus and northern Iran.
  • Northernmost colonies in southern England, Wales, southern Sweden, Bornholm.
  • Up to 1800m altitude.
  • In Britain: southern England, including Isle of Wight.


  • Sedentary, with 35km longest recorded movement (B143).

(B51, B142, B143, B147)

Occasional and Accidental --


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Intraspecific variation


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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
  • Rare (B142, B143). 

  • To 10 bats per square kilometre where habitat optimal (B143).

  • In Britain: native, very rare inhabitant of south central England. Pre-breeding population estimate of about 1,500, including 1,500 in England, 0 in Scotland, 0 in Wales. Population estimate "based on a very limited amount of information for the species" although additional knowledge "may not necessarily have made a substantial difference to the estimate". (B221)

General Legislation
  • Bern Convention Appendix II (B143)
  • Bonn Convention Appendix II (B143)
  • EU Habitats & Species Directive, Annex II & Annex IV


CITES listing --
Red-data book listing
  • Woodland fragmentation.
  • In Britain, chance events affecting the very small population.
  • (B221)
Captive Populations  

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