Lesser noctule

The lesser noctule or Leisler's bat (Nyctalus leisleri), also known as the Irish Bat[2][3], is a species of bat belonging to the vesper bat family, Vespertilionidae.

Lesser noctule/Leisler's bat
Nyctalus leisleri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
Genus: Nyctalus
N. leisleri
Binomial name
Nyctalus leisleri
(Kuhl, 1817)
Mapa Nyctalus leisleri


It is a medium-sized bat, slightly smaller than the common noctule. It has a length of 48 to 68 mm (head and body) and a wingspan of 260 to 330 mm. The forearm measures 38 to 47 mm and the bat's weight is 11 to 20 grams. The face, ears and wings are dark. The fur is brown, darker at the base than the tip unlike that of the common noctule which is the same colour along its length. The undersides of the arms are hairy giving it the alternative name "hairy-armed bat". The ears are short and rounded with a mushroom-shaped tragus. The wings are long and narrow.


The lesser noctule is found locally across Europe and western Asia, eastwards as far as the Urals and Himalayas. It is also found in north-west Africa, the Canary Islands and Madeira. The form in the Azores is often considered to be a separate species - Azores noctule (Nyctalus azoreum).

It is typically found in forests, both coniferous and deciduous, but has also adapted to parkland and urban areas and frequently roosts in buildings.

In most parts of its range the lesser noctule is rare, however in Ireland it is much more common, being the island's largest and third most common bat species. Due to the lesser noctule's ubiquity in Ireland, the island is also considered its global stronghold.[4] In Britain it is known from a few colonies in England and Wales with occasional wanderers reaching Scotland. Threats to its survival include declines in large insects, loss of forest and hollow trees and toxic chemicals found in treated timber in buildings.


The bats emerge soon after sunset to feed on flying insects such as moths and beetles. They fly straight and fast with shallow dives, often at treetop level. They sometimes feed around streetlights, catching the insects attracted to them. They are most active around dusk and dawn and will travel up to 10 km while foraging.


Lesser noctules usually breed in small colonies of around 20 to 50 individuals but in Ireland they can be much larger, with some colonies numbering as many as 1,000 individuals.[5] The colony is usually in a hollow tree or building; bat boxes may sometimes be used. The females give birth to one or two young, with twins being more common in the eastern part of the range.


The frequencies used by this bat species for echolocation lie between 25–54 kHz, have most energy at 29 kHz and have an average duration of 8.5 ms.[6][7]


The species was named to honour the naturalist Johann Philipp Achilles Leisler


Vesperugo leisleri ras
  • Chiroptera Specialist Group (1996). "Nyctalus leisleri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 5 December 2006.
  • Frank Greenaway & A. M. Hudson (1990) A Field Guide to British Bats, Bruce Coleman Books, Uxbridge
  • Wilfried Schober & Eckard Grimmberger (1993) Hamlyn Guide: Bats of Britain and Europe, Hamlyn, London.
  • R. E. Stebbings & Francesca Griffith (1986) Distribution and Status of Bats in Europe, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Huntingdon.
  • S. Zera & P. Myers (2004) Nyctalus leisleri, Animal Diversity Web. Accessed 5 December 2006.
  1. ^ Juste, J. & Paunović, M. (2016). "Nyctalus leisleri". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T14919A22016159. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T14919A22016159.en. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  2. ^ The Irish Examiner. "High temperatures send bats swooping in".
  3. ^ Shiel et al (1999). "Seasonal changes in the foraging behaviour of Leisler's bats (Nyctalus leisleri) in Ireland as revealed by radio‐telemetry".
  4. ^ The Irish Independent. "Ireland a Leisler's Bat stronghold".
  5. ^ Bat Conservation Trust. "Leisler's bat" (PDF).
  6. ^ Parsons, S. and Jones, G. (2000) 'Acoustic identification of twelve species of echolocating bat by discriminant function analysis and artificial neural networks.' J Exp Biol., 203: 2641-2656.
  7. ^ Obrist, M.K., Boesch, R. and 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.

External links

Azores noctule

The Azores noctule (Nyctalus azoreum) is a species of bat found in the dry forests of the Azores. It is the only species of mammal endemic to the Azores. It has been recorded on most of the islands of the Azores, and remains common on some but is rare on others. Its numbers are threatened due to habitat loss caused by humans, and the remaining populations are quite fragmented. It is known to roost in hollowed-out trees, buildings, and caves.

The species is related to the widespread lesser noctule, and in the past was treated as a subspecies of that species. Genetic studies have found that it originated recently from lesser noctules which colonised the Azores, and has low levels of genetic divergence from its parent species. It nevertheless is much smaller than the lesser noctule and weighs less, has darker fur and has a different frequency of echolocation calls (about 4–5 Hz higher), and is usually treated as a separate species.The Azores noctule is the only known species of bat in the world that hunts insects principally by day, although a single population of the soprano pipistrelle in northern Italy has also been discovered doing so. It has been hypothesised that the Azores noctules can forage during the day due to the absence of avian predators in the Azores, since it is thought that other bats forage nocturnally in order to avoid predatory birds such as hawks and falcons. Azores noctules still seem to exhibit some anti-predator behaviour, such as leaving their roosting sites in groups, but this may be related to foraging behaviour or non-avian predators such as rats.


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

List of mammals of Madeira

This is a list of mammals of Madeira, concerning the indigenous mammals of the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira in the North Atlantic ocean. Besides the mammals on the islands, the coastal waters are host to at least nine species of dolphins and ten species of migrating

cetaceans. These are protected in the 430,000 km2 Madeiran 'Marine Mammal Sanctuary'.


Nyctalus is a genus of vespertilionid bats commonly known as the noctule bats. They are distributed in the temperate and subtropical areas of Europe, Asia and North Africa.

There are eight species within this genus:

Birdlike noctule, Nyctalus aviator

Azores noctule, Nyctalus azoreum

Japanese noctule, Nyctalus furvus

Greater noctule bat, Nyctalus lasiopterus

Lesser noctule, Nyctalus leisleri

Mountain noctule, Nyctalus montanus

Common noctule, Nyctalus noctula

Chinese noctule, Nyctalus plancyi


Scotoecus is a genus of bats in the family Vespertilionidae.


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

Species of subfamily Vespertilioninae

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