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.

Soprano pipistrelle
Pipistrellus pygmaeus01
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae
Genus: Pipistrellus
P. pygmaeus
Binomial name
Pipistrellus pygmaeus
(Leach, 1825)
Pipistrellus pygmaeus range map
Global range of P. pygmaeus (green)

Habitat and distribution

The Soprano pipistrelle is known to roost throughout Europe in rooftops and houses. One study, done by Lourneco and Palmeirim, found that the reason behind a preference for rooftops was because of the available thermal differences throughout a roof. Although Soprano pipistrelle can thermal regulate up to 40 degrees C it prefers not to go above this temperature. Rooftops give the maternity colonies access to cooler spots on warmer days and warmer spots any other time. They achieved this observation by trying out different colored bat boxes and seeing how frequented they were. Although the black bat boxes could get too warm they were most frequented because of the love of warmer temperatures of this bat. In a study done by Nicholls and Racey, the habitat of the Pipistrellus pygmaeus was found to be small around 487 ha. It consisted mostly of agriculture land but also saw a significant increase in woodland edge and glasslands used as habitat. When it came to foraging habitat though, the Pipistrellus pygmaeus chose riparian woodland over all other habitats by a significant amount. Water followed in as second and these two habitats combined made up "77% of foraging time". (Nicholls and Racey)

Roosting and foraging behaviour

The Pipistrellus pygmaeus was found to enjoy alternative roosting sites, to the extent that some found in one colony would exclusively use alternative roosting sites. When these bats were excluded from the original colony during a study done by Stone, et al., the bats did not return to the original colony but in fact started a new colony on one of the most preferred alternative roosting sites. The majority of these roosting sites were in buildings like bungalows and manors which were deemed unsuitable alternative roosting sites. The idea behind this alternative roosting could in fact be because of the torpor used by the Pipistrellus pygmaeus and the desire of the bat to be around 40 degrees C at certain times of its life, like when in maternity colonies. The Soprano pipistrelle only uses a small portion of its home range in order to forage and it is generally close to its day roost. Possibly because of the preference for foraging in a riparian habitat, many times these bats are seen overlapping each other's foraging areas. During reproduction and lactation foraging is done in longer flights, with similar flying times, but less bouts than the Pipistrellus pipistrellus. This is possibly because of the increased size of the colony of the Pipistrellus pygmaeus and the decrease need for energy because of thermoregulation. (Davidson-Watts and Jones) During the maternity colony times for the Soprano pipistrelle, there is an increased amount of wetlands within 2 km. This was noted also by Davidson-Watts and Jones as more than likely not by chance but deliberate. The majority of bats in a colony used one roosting site throughout the time of April to October most likely due to the need to be close to wetland habitats to acquire their specialized diet.


Soprano pipistrelle will congregate in maternity colonies while they are pregnant and nursing their young. This causes a problem for the human population because these colonies can get quite large, in fact much larger than the Pipistrellus pipistrellus colonies, which tend to be less than 200 bats. This large size of a colony causes a nuisance for humans because of the smell. During early pregnancy, Pipistrellus pygmaeus emerges later from its roost than it does in late pregnancy or lactation. This could be due to the large size of the colonies in the Soprano pipistrelle. Early pregnancy occurs in May and late pregnancy occurs in June and July while lactation occurs in August. (Lourneco and Palmeirim).


P. pygmaeus (55 Pip) call on heterodyne bat detector, recorded in stereo 187 kHz

The frequencies used by this bat species for echolocation lie between 53 and 86 kHz, have most energy at 55 kHz and have an average duration of 5.8 ms.[1][2]


Further reading

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


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Lourneco, Sofia; Palmeirim, Jorge (2004). "Influence of temperature in roost selection by ' ' Pipistrellus pygmaeus ' ' (Chiroptera): relevance for the design of bat boxes". Biological Conservation. 119 (2): 237–243. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2003.11.006.

[1] [2] [3] [4]

External links

  • ARKive Pipistrellus pipistrellus and Pipistrellus pygmaeus Photographs and videos.
  1. ^ Davidson-Watts, I.; Jones, G. (2006). "Differences in foraging behaviour between ' 'Pipistrellus pipistrellu' ' (Schreber, 1774) and ' 'Pipistrellus pygmaeus' ' (Leavh, 1825)". Journal of Zoology. 268: 55–62. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2005.00016.x.
  2. ^ Hulva, Pavel; et, al (28 May 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): 1023–1035. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.04.007. PMID 15288073.
  3. ^ Nicholls, Barry; Racey, Paul (October 2006). "Habitat Selection as a Mechanism of Resource Partitioning in Two Cryptic Bat Species ' 'Pipistrellus pipistrellus' ' and ' 'Pipistrellus pygmaeus' '". Ecography. 29 (5): 697–708. doi:10.1111/j.2006.0906-7590.04575.x.
  4. ^ Stone, Emma; et, al (5 August 2015). "Managing Conflict between Bats and Humans: The Response of Soprano Pipistrelles ' 'Pipistrellus pygmaeus' ' to Exclusion from Roosts in Houses". PLOS ONE. 10 (8): 1–16.

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)

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.

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.

Common pipistrelle

The common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) is a small pipistrelle microbat whose very large range extends across most of Europe, North Africa, southwestern Asia, and may extend into Korea. 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.


Drevviken is a lake in southern Stockholm, Sweden, shared by the four municipalities Stockholm, Haninge, Huddinge, and Tyresö.

While much of the surrounding area is used for one-family houses, the lake and the green space north of it are considered to be of great recreational and natural importance and forms part of a suggested nature reserve around lake Flaten.

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)

Hunstrete Lake

Hunstrete Lake (grid reference ST646622) is a mature lake of 5 acres (20,000 m2). Two new lakes of 3.5 acres (14,000 m2) where constructed alongside in the 1990s. They are situated just to the south of the village of Hunstrete, Somerset; south of Bristol, and 7 miles (11 km) west of Bath. It is surrounded by a belt of trees, and at the north-west end this merges into Lord's Wood, Pensford.

The lakes are used for angling, and are noted for their carp and tench.


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)

Lavells Lake

Lavells Lake is a local nature reserve in Woodley, Berkshire, England. The nature reserve is owned by Wokingham Borough Council and managed by the council in partnership with the Friends of Lavell's Lake. The nature reserve is within the Dinton Pastures Country Park.

List of mammals of Norway

List of mammals with non-domesticated populations in Norway.

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.


Orlången is a lake in central Huddinge Municipality, just south of Stockholm, Sweden.

Orlången, one of the lakes in the Tyresån Lake System, forms part of the Orlången Nature Reserve.


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.

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.


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

Species of subfamily Vespertilioninae


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