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Vespertilionid Bats: Vespertilionidae

Common Bentwing Bat (miniopterus Schreibersi): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Unlike other vespertilionid bats, bentwing bats have a long third finger that they can bend beneath their wing when they aren't flying. The common bentwing bat has a thick gray, yellow, or brown fur coat. It ranges from 2.0 to 3.1 inches (5.1 to 7.8 centimeters) in body length and weighs 0.3 to 0.6 ounces (8 to 16 grams). Its tail is about as long as its body.

Geographic range: This bat lives in Madagascar, southern and northwestern Africa, southern Europe, southern Asia, eastern and northern Australia, and New Guinea.

Habitat: They tend to prefer woodlands and fields that are near caves or other roosting sites.

Diet: Adult bats will eat up to a third of their body weight in flying insects every night.

Owls may sometimes catch common bentwing bats while they are flying for insects. (Brock Fenton. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: They mate in the fall, and females typically give birth to one pup each summer. The females form large maternity roosts where they raise their young together. A roost can contain several thousand pups. The pups are old enough to mate and have their own families in about a year. Predators for common bentwing bats include owls that may occasionally catch the bats in the air, as well as snakes and cats that may find a roost.

Common bentwing bats and people: Like most other bats, the insect diet of this species helps to keep pests in check.

Conservation status: The IUCN Red List considers this species Near Threatened, likely due to predation and disturbance to maternal roosts. ∎



Altringham, J. Bats: Biology and Behavior. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Fenton, M. Brock. Bats. New York: Checkmark Books, 2001.

Kunz, T., and P. Racey eds. Bat Biology and Conservation. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998.

Kurta, A. Mammals of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1995.

Nowak, R. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Web sites:

IUCN 2003. 2003 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. http://www.redlist.org (accessed July 5, 2004).

Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. http://endangered.fws.gov/ (accessed on July 5, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsVespertilionid Bats: Vespertilionidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Vespertilionid Bats And People, Conservation Status, Pallid Bat (antrozous Pallidus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET