Common pipistrelle

The common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) is a small pipistrelle bat whose very large range extends across most of Europe, North Africa, southwestern Asia, and may extend into Korea.[2] It is one of the most common bat species in the British Isles.

In 1999, the common pipistrelle was split into two species on the basis of different-frequency echolocation calls. The common pipistrelle uses a call of 45 kHz, while the soprano pipistrelle echolocates at 55 kHz. Since the two species were distinguished, a number of other differences, in appearance, habitat and food, have also been discovered.

Pipistrellus flight2
Pipistrellus pipistrellus in flight
Pipistrellus pipistrellus baby
Pipistrellus pipistrellus baby
Common pipistrelle
Pipistrellus pipistrellus lateral
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
Genus: Pipistrellus
P. pipistrellus
Binomial name
Pipistrellus pipistrellus
(Schreber, 1774)
  • Vespertilio pipistrellus Schreber, 1774
  • Vesperugo pipistrellus Keyserling & Blasius, 1839

Taxonomy and etymology

It was described as a new species in 1774 by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber. Schreber initially placed it in the genus Vespertilio, calling it Vespertilio pipistrellus.[3] In 1839, Keyserling and Blasius reclassified the species, naming it Vesperugo pipistrellus.[4] This classification stood until 1897, when Miller placed the species into the genus Pipistrellus, where it remains as Pipistrellus pipistrellus.[5] Its species name "pipistrellus" is derived from the Italian word pipistrello, which means "bat."

The soprano pipistrelle, Pipistrellus pygmaeus, was formerly considered synonymous with the common pipistrelle. In 1999,[6] it was formally split from the common pipistrelle based on differing echolocation signatures and a genetic divergence of 11%.[7] Despite being different species, the common pipistrelle and the soprano pipistrelle are able to hybridize, based on genetic analysis conducted in Poland.[8]


The common pipistrelle is a very small species of bat. Its forearm is 27.7–32.2 mm (1.09–1.27 in) long. It has a short muzzle.[9] It is 3.5–5.2 cm (1.4–2.0 in) long along the head-and-body, with the tail adding 2.3–3.6 cm (0.91–1.42 in). The body mass can range from 3.5 to 8.5 g (0.12 to 0.30 oz), with the wingspan ranging from 18 to 25 cm (7.1 to 9.8 in).[10] Its brown fur is variable in tone. It is common in woodland and farmland but is also found in towns, where the females roost in lofts and buildings when rearing young.

Biology and ecology


Males attract females by creating courtship territories approximately 200 m (660 ft) in diameter; these territories are maintained from mid-July through the end of October, with particularly intense activity in September. Courtship territories are usually in the vicinity of popular winter roosts for the species. Males will patrol these territories while "singing" to attract the attention of female bats as they travel to winter roosts. Male courtship territories are densely-packed, offering female choice akin to a lek mating system.[11] While copulation occurs in the fall, fertilization does not occur until after its hibernation due to female sperm storage.[12] Females are pregnant in May and June. Pregnant females form large aggregations in roosts, called maternity colonies. Colonies can consist of dozens or hundreds of individuals. Parturition usually occurs in June.[13] The litter size is usually one young, called a pup, though in some populations, twins are regularly produced.[14] Females nurse their pups through July; pups are usually weaned by August.[13] Females reach sexual maturity at one year of age.[14]

Foraging and diet

The common pipistrelle is an edge specialist, preferring to forage along woodland edges and along isolated tree lines.[15] It is insectivorous, preying on flies, caddisflies, lacewings, and mayflies.[16] Mosquitoes, midges, and gnats are particularly favored prey items.[17]


The frequencies used by this bat species for echolocation lie between 45 and 76 kHz, have most energy at 47 kHz and have an average duration of 5.6 ms.[18][19]

Range and habitat

It has a Palearctic distribution.[1] It occurs in the British Isles, southern Scandinavia, much of Continental Europe, and parts of Northwest Africa. It is also found in India, China, and Myanmar in Asia.[1]


It has been called the most common and abundant species of bat in Continental Europe and the United Kingdom.[14] Notably, however, these judgments were made before it was split into two species in 1999. The common pipistrelle is considered least concern by the IUCN. It meets the criteria for this classification because it has a large geographic range and a presumed large population. As of 2008, the IUCN noted that there was no evidence of a rapid population decline.[1] However, it is a species of conservation concern in the United Kingdom, where the government created a Species Action Plan to restore its population to pre-1979 levels. Its decline in the UK has been attributed to loss of foraging habitat due to agriculture intensification.[13]

Further reading

Dick, A. and Roche, N. 2017 Google Earth and Google Street View reveal differences in Pipistrellus pipistrellus and Pipistrellus pygmaeus roadside habitat use in Ireland. Irish Naturalists' Journal 35(2) 83 - 93


  1. ^ a b c d Hutson, A.M.; Spitzenberger, F.; Aulagnier, S.; Coroiu, I.; Karataş, A.; Juste, J.; Paunovic, M.; Palmeirim, J.; Benda, P. (2008). "Pipistrellus pipistrellus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T17317A6968203. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T17317A6968203.en.
  2. ^ Mazin B. Qumsiyeh (1996). Mammals of the Holy Land (illustrated ed.). Texas Tech University Press. p. 133. ISBN 978-0896723641.
  3. ^ von Schreber, Johann Christian Daniel (1775). Die Säugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen. Walther. pp. 167–168.
  4. ^ Keyserling, A. G. V.; Blasius, I. H. (1839). "Uebersicht der Gattungs-und Artcharaktere der europäischen Fledermäuse". Archiv für Naturgeschichte. 5: 321–322.
  5. ^ Miller, G. S. (1897). "The nomenclature of some European bats". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 6. 20: 384.
  6. ^ Jones, G.; Barratt, E. M. (1999). "Vespertilio pipistrellus Schreber, 1774 and V. pygmaeus Leach, 1825 (currently Pipistrellus pipistrellus and P. pygmaeus; Mammalia, Chiroptera): proposed designation of neotypes". Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 56 (3): 182–186. doi:10.5962/bhl.part.23065.
  7. ^ Hulva, Pavel; Horáček, Ivan; Strelkov, Petr P; Benda, Petr (2004). "Molecular architecture of Pipistrellus pipistrellus/Pipistrellus pygmaeus complex (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae): Further cryptic species and Mediterranean origin of the divergence". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 32 (3): 1023–35. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.04.007. PMID 15288073.
  8. ^ Sztencel-Jabłonka, A; Bogdanowicz, W (2012). "Population genetics study of common (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) and soprano (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) pipistrelle bats from central Europe suggests interspecific hybridization". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 90 (10): 1251. doi:10.1139/z2012-092.
  9. ^ Dietz, C.; Kiefer, A. (2016). Bats of Britain and Europe. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 194. ISBN 9781472935762.
  10. ^ Macdonald, D.W.; Barrett , P. (1993). Mammals of Europe. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-09160-0.
  11. ^ Sachteleben, Jens; von Helversen, Otto (2006). "Songflight behaviour and mating system of the pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) in an urban habitat" (PDF). Acta Chiropterologica. 8 (2): 391. doi:10.3161/1733-5329(2006)8[391:SBAMSO]2.0.CO;2.
  12. ^ Roy, Vikas Kumar; Krishna, Amitabh (2010). "Evidence of androgen-dependent sperm storage in female reproductive tract of Scotophilus heathi". General and Comparative Endocrinology. 165 (1): 120–6. doi:10.1016/j.ygcen.2009.06.012. PMID 19539620.
  13. ^ a b c Davidson-Watts, I; Jones, G (2005). "Differences in foraging behaviour between Pipistrellus pipistrellus (Schreber, 1774) and Pipistrellus pygmaeus (Leach, 1825)". Journal of Zoology. 268: 55–62. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2005.00016.x.
  14. ^ a b c Arlettaz, Raphaël; Godat, Saskia; Meyer, Harry (2000). "Competition for food by expanding pipistrelle bat populations (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) might contribute to the decline of lesser horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus hipposideros)". Biological Conservation. 93: 55–60. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(99)00112-3.
  15. ^ Nicholls, Barry; Racey, Paul (2006). "Habitat selection as a mechanism of resource partitioning in two cryptic bat species Pipistrellus pipistrellus and Pipistrellus pygmaeus". Ecography. 29 (5): 697. doi:10.1111/j.2006.0906-7590.04575.x.
  16. ^ Swift, S. M; Racey, P. A; Avery, M. I (1985). "Feeding Ecology of Pipistrellus pipistrellus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) During Pregnancy and Lactation. II. Diet". The Journal of Animal Ecology. 54 (1): 217–225. doi:10.2307/4632. JSTOR 4632.
  17. ^ Barlow, Kate E (1997). "The diets of two phonic types of the bat Pipistrellus pipistrellus in Britain". Journal of Zoology. 243 (3): 597–609. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1997.tb02804.x.
  18. ^ Parsons, S.; Jones, G. (2000). "Acoustic identification of twelve species of echolocating bat by discriminant function analysis and artificial neural networks". The Journal of Experimental Biology. 203 (Pt 17): 2641–56. PMID 10934005.
  19. ^ Obrist, M.K.; Boesch, R. & Flückiger, P.F. (2004). "Variability in echolocation call design of 26 Swiss bat species: Consequences, limits and options for automated field identification with a synergic pattern recognition approach". Mammalia. 68 (4): 307–32. doi:10.1515/mamm.2004.030.

External links


Arielulus is a genus of vesper bats with the following species, sometimes in Pipistrellus:

Genus Arielulus

Collared pipistrelle (A. aureocollaris)

Black-gilded pipistrelle (A. circumdatus)

Coppery pipistrelle (A. cuprosus)

Social pipistrelle (A. societatis)

Necklace pipistrelle (A. torquatus)


Barbastella is a small genus of vespertilionid bats. There are five described species in this genus.

Bat detector

A bat detector is a device used to detect the presence of bats by converting their echolocation ultrasound signals, as they are emitted by the bats, to audible frequencies, usually about 120 Hz to 15 kHz. There are other types of detectors which record bat calls so that they can be analysed afterward, but these are more commonly referred to by their particular function.

Bats emit calls from about 12 kHz to 160 kHz, but the upper frequencies in this range are rapidly absorbed in air. Many bat detectors are limited to around 15 kHz to 125 kHz at best. Bat detectors are available commercially and also can be self-built.

Bat species identification

Bat detectors are the most common way to identify the species of flying bats. There are distinct types of call which can indicate the genus, and variations in pattern and frequency which indicate the species. For readers not familiar with the different types of bat detector, there is further information below and elsewhere.

Bats also make social calls, which are less useful for species identification. They sound different from the echolocation calls and do not have the same frequency patterns. Fuller details on the types of call and other clues to species identification follow below but Pipistrelles (or "Pips") give good examples of what can be discovered with a bat detector and make a good start to learning how to identify bats.

Bat detectors pick up various signals in the ultrasound range, not all of which are made by bats. To distinguish bat and bat species it is important to recognise non-bat species.

Captured bats can be exactly identified in the hand but in many countries a licence is required before bats can be captured.

Devon Bat Group

The Devon Bat Group (DBG) was founded in 1984 to help protect bats and their habitats, to look after injured bats and to advise and educate people about bats.

Farthings Wood

Farthings Wood is an ancient replanted woodland near Little Missenden in the English county of Buckinghamshire. The predominant tree species in the wood is Corsican pine, interspersed with beech, wild cherry, rowan, ash, silver birch, downy birch and sycamore. There are also Scots pine trees in the southern section of the wood, and hornbeam, oak and hawthorn around the boundaries of the wood. The shrub layer consists of a number of different species. The wood is home to two species of bats, namely the Common Pipistrelle and the Soprano Pipistrelle. The wood is threatened by the proposed route of the HS2 high-speed railway.


Hesperoptenus is a genus of bats within the Vespertilionidae or "Vesper bats" family. Species within this genus are:

Blanford's bat (Hesperoptenus blanfordi)

False serotine bat (Hesperoptenus doriae)

Gaskell's false serotine (Hesperoptenus gaskelli)

Tickell's bat (Hesperoptenus tickelli)

Large false serotine (Hesperoptenus tomesi)

Het Groene Woud

Het Groene Woud (The Green Forest) is a special area of the Netherlands which is located in North Brabant between the cities of Tilburg, Eindhoven and 's-Hertogenbosch. It includes nature reserves such as the Kampina, the Oisterwijk forests and fens, Velderbos and the Dommel.

In 2004 "Het Groene Woud" is designated by the government as a National Landscape. This is to prevent the area between the three large cities from becoming more urbanized.

The combination of nature, sustainable agriculture and environmental recreation form a valuable cultural and historical landscape. "Het Groene Woud" covers a total of 7,500 hectares of marshes, meadows and agricultural landscape. It covers the municipalities Boxtel, Sint-Oedenrode, Schijndel, Sint-Michielsgestel, Best, Oirschot, Oisterwijk, Haaren and Vught.

In Het Groene Woud, many species of mammals can be encountered:

These include: roe deer, European badger, Eurasian harvest mouse, European polecat, European water vole, European hedgehog, Eurasian red squirrel, common pipistrelle, European hare, brown long-eared bat, stoat, serotine bat, European mole, Natterer's bat, least weasel, red fox, Daubenton's bat, beech marten and several species of shrew, dormice, apodemus and arvicolinae.

In the near future will possibly red deers be re-introduced in the area.

Hiking, canoeing and cycling activities are possible in this area.


Laephotis is a genus of bats in the family Vespertilionidae. Species within this genus are:

Angolan long-eared bat (Laephotis angolensis)

Botswanan long-eared bat (Laephotis botswanae)

Namib long-eared bat (Laephotis namibensis)

De Winton's long-eared bat (Laephotis wintoni)

Lord's Wood, Pensford

Lord's Wood is a woodland southeast of the village of Pensford in the Chew Valley, south of Bristol, England.

The wood largely consists of planted conifers, however some broad-leaved areas remain.A number of small streams flow northward through the wood, converging and then eventually meeting the River Chew to the north.

There is a well-vegetated pond near the centre of the wood.

Hunstrete Lake lies just to the southeast of the wood.

Nathusius's pipistrelle

Nathusius' pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii (Keyserling and Blasius)) is a small bat in the pipistrelle genus. It is very similar to the common pipistrelle and has been overlooked in many areas until recently but it is widely distributed across Europe.


For the light aircraft manufacturer, see Pipistrel.

Pipistrellus is a genus of bats in the family Vespertilionidae and subfamily Vespertilioninae. The name of the genus is derived from the Italian word pipistrello, meaning "bat" (from Latin vespertilio "bird of evening, bat").

The size of the genus has been considerably reduced as a result of work during the 1990s and 2000s, with genera such as Arielulus, Hypsugo, Falsistrellus, Neoromicia, Parastrellus, Perimyotis, Scotozous, and Vespadelus being split off. Still, molecular evidence suggests the genus is not monophyletic. Several other genera in the subfamily Vespertilioninae have also been merged with Pipistrellus in previous classifications. Species in the genus may be referred to as "pipistrelles" or "pipistrelle bats", though these terms are also used for species now placed in other genera, such as the western pipistrelle (Parastrellus hesperus) and eastern pipistrelle (Perimyotis subflavus) of North America. Species of the southern hemisphere separated to genus Falsistrellus are sometimes referred to as 'false pipistrelle' or 'falsistrelle'.They are somewhat distinguished from their much larger relatives, the noctule bats Nyctalus by their weak, fluttery flight reminiscent of a butterfly, though a few species are more direct in their flight.


Scotoecus is a genus of bats in the family Vespertilionidae.

Soprano pipistrelle

The soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) is a small bat that in taxonomy was only formally separated from the common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) in 1999. It is possible that these two groups diverged from one another in the Mediterranean and that is why the Pipistrellus pygmaeus has the ability to thermal regulate at such high temperatures as 40 degrees C.

The two species were first distinguished on the basis of their different-frequency echolocation calls. The common pipistrelle uses a call of 45 kHz, while the soprano pipistrelle echolocates at 55 kHz. The two species are sometimes called the 45 kHz pipistrelle and the 55 kHz pipistrelle, or the bandit pipistrelle (common) and the brown pipistrelle (soprano). Since the two species were split, a number of other differences, in appearance, habitat and food, have also been discovered.

South Park, Ilford

South Park is an Edwardian park to the south of Ilford, East London. It is one of the largest open spaces in the London Borough of Redbridge. It has recently been awarded Green Flag status.

Tyre Coast Nature Reserve

Tyre Coast Nature Reserve to the southeast of Tyre, Lebanon covers over 380 hectares (940 acres) and is divided into three zones: the tourism zone (public beaches, the old city and Souks, the ancient port), the agricultural and archaeological zone, and the Conservation zone that includes the Phoenician springs of Ras El Ain. Established in 1998, is an important sanctuary for wildlife and includes a public beach with yellow sand. The reserve is bisected by the Rachidiye refugee camp.

Due to its diverse flora and fauna, the reserve is a designated Ramsar Site. It is an important nesting site for migratory birds and the endangered Loggerhead and green sea turtle and the shelter of the Arabian spiny mouse and many other important creatures (including wall lizards, common pipistrelle, and european badger). Plant species include the cattail, sea daffodil, and sand lily.


The Vespertilioninae are a subfamily of vesper bats from the family Vespertilionidae.

Vresselse Bossen

East of the village Nijnsel and Hamlet Vressel, Sint-Oedenrode, North-Brabant, Netherlands is the location of the Vresselse bossen or Vresselsche Bosch (Vressels Forest).

The Vresselse Bossen is a forest area of 241 ha. It is owned and managed by the National Forest Service (Staatsbosbeheer).

The forest is named after the nearby hamlet Vressel.

It is a young forest that is planted in a drift-sand ridge.

At the beginning of the 20th century there was scarcely a tree in the area. The area consisted mainly of sand dunes and heathland.

At the edges of the area lived farmers who were severely affected by the shifting sands. To protect the fields was therefore decided to reforest the drift-sand. At that time, almost exclusively pine was used for the reforesting. In the twenties of the 20th century it had become a production forest consisting of Scots pine for the Limburgian mines.

Within the area there are two main fen systems: The Hazenputten and the Oude Putten. Rare vegetation is mainly found around the fens: among others White beak-sedge and bog asphodel can be found here.

The contemporary management by Staatsbosbeheer focuses on getting a more varied forest composition, including native oak, linden and beech. To prevent the Hazenputten from drying, competing vegetation is removed around the pools.

The area around the marshes has been grazed by Highland cattle and Exmoor horses in the past.

The area has a rich bird population. Breeding birds are: yellowhammer, kingfisher, black woodpecker, northern goshawk, little grebe, European green woodpecker, common buzzard, great egret, long-eared owl, coal tit, little owl, barn owl and crested tit.

Also many species of mammals can be encountered:

These include: roe deer, European badger, Eurasian harvest mouse, European polecat, European water vole, European hedgehog, Eurasian red squirrel, common pipistrelle, European hare, brown long-eared bat, stoat, serotine bat, European mole, Natterer's bat, least weasel, red fox, Daubenton's bat, beech marten and several species of shrew, dormice, apodemus and arvicolinae.

The "Hazenputten" was nominated by Staatsbosbeheer for the title of "Most beautiful spot" in the Netherlands in 2013.The Vresselse Bossen are part of Het Groene Woud, a vast nature area between Eindhoven, Den Bosch and Tilburg.

West of the Vresselse Bossen lies the valley of the Dommel, in the northwest the Vresselse Forest reaches the Moerkuilen.

To the north there is the reclaimed heathland of the Jekschot Heath and to the east lies the DAF test track and Mariahout Forest.

Withdean and Westdene Woods

Withdean and Westdene Woods is a 7.9-hectare (20-acre) Local Nature Reserve in four separate areas in Brighton in East Sussex. Most of the site is owned and managed by Brighton and Hove City Council. Withdean Woods is a 1-hectare (2.5-acre) nature reserve managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust.Many of the mature trees on this site were destroyed by the Great Storm of 1987, but it still has a range of mammals including foxes, badgers and common pipistrelle bats, while there are birds such as great spotted woodpecker and firecrests.

Species of subfamily Vespertilioninae

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