- Scientific Name
- Barbastella barbastellus
- Global Conservation Status (IUCN)
- Near Threatened
Pronunciation: bar-ba-stell-a bar-ba-stell-us
Conservation Status: Near Threatened (IUCN Red List)
Fun Fact: Western barbastelle bats produce two types of echolocation pulses when foraging – one is emitted out of the mouth while the other is emitted primarily from the nose.
The western barbastelle bat range is mainly in central and southern Europe, though it is also found in the Canary Islands, the Caucasus, and Morocco. This species has been recorded in mountain areas up to 7,000 feet above sea level.
Western barbastelle bats forage almost exclusively on tympanite moths, which are moths with ears capable of hearing bat echolocation calls. The echolocation calls of western barbastelle bats are much quieter than many other insectivorous bat species and it is thought that their quiet, nose-emitted “stealth” echolocation calls allow them to approach moths without detection.
Medium-small bats (6 to 13 grams) with pug-shaped noses, western barbastelle bats generally prefer roosting under loose tree bark or cavities, though they have been observed in rock crevices and human structures. They undergo seasonal migrations to underground roosting sites for the winter, where they hibernate. Their preference for mature deciduous forests means this species is vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation due to road construction and development.