Common bentwing bat

Miniopterus schreibersi

SUBFAMILY

Miniopterinae

TAXONOMY

Miniopterus schreibersi (Kuhl, 1817), Banat, Romania. Two subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Schreiber's long-fingered bat, Schreiber's bent-winged bat, greater bent-winged bat, long-winged bat; French: Minop-tere a longues ailes; German: Langflügelfledermaus; Spanish: Murcielago de cueva.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Average adult body length is 2.0-3.1 in (5.1-7.8 cm), weight is 0.28-0.56 oz (8-16 g), and forearm length is 1.7-2.0 in (4.2-5.0 cm). Gray to golden or reddish brown, thickly furred bat with a long tail; long, slender wings; and short ears.

DISTRIBUTION

Along the Mediterranean Sea in Europe and Africa, Africa south of the Sahara, southern Asia, New Guinea, and northern and eastern Australia.

HABITAT

Found in forests in the vicinity of caves or other rocky areas, usually near a subterranean water source, in summer and winter.

BEHAVIOR

Tens of thousands of common bentwing bats may roost together in the winter, and northernmost populations may hibernate. After migrating up to 200 mi (322 km) north in the spring, the males disperse, but females and their young continue to roost together in maternity colonies of many thousand bats. The body heat of so many bats helps to maintain a tolerable temperature in the cool summer caves. Sometimes, individuals or small groups may roost in a nearby secondary roost. Shortly after sunset, the bats emerge from their roosts to forage throughout the night.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

The diet of these speedy, nocturnal bats includes small insects, especially beetles.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Most likely polygynous. Mating commonly occurs in the fall, with delayed implantation until winter. Gestation lasts about 115-130 days after implantation. The young are born in early summer. In more tropical populations, implantation may occur almost immediately with young born up to four months earlier than in temperate areas. Litter size is typically one young per female. The young are weaned at about two months. They attain sexual maturity at 1 year old.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Listed as Lower Risk/Near Threatened by the IUCN. Population declines, including the disappearance of entire colonies, have been reported in western Europe.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Eat beetles and other insects that are potentially damaging to agricultural crops. ♦

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