Acta Theriologica

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 55–64 | Cite as

Temporal and spatial differences in the emission of calls by pipistrelle batsPipistrellus pipistrellus andP. pygmaeus

  • Nick C. Downs
  • Paul A. Racey


The number of orientation, feeding and social calls emitted by pipistrelle batsPipistrellus pipistrellus Schreber, 1774 andP. pygmaeus Leach, 1825 was recorded throughout the night at eight different sites. Social calls were unaffected by weather variables, whereas orientation calls and feeding buzzes were both significantly affected by cloud and temperature conditions. The number of emissions of each call type was significantly different between sites, indicating that the bats used different sites for different activities. Significant positive correlations between all three combinations of call types occurred only during the middle of the night, corresponding with the nadir of flying insects. This suggests that bats were engaged in activities other than feeding at this time, such as territory protection or mate attraction.

Key words

Pipistrelle bats social echolocation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anthony E. L. P., Stack M. H. and Kunz T. H. 1981. Night roosting and nocturnal time budget of the little brown bat,Myotis lucifugus: Effects of reproductive status, prey density, and environmental conditions. Oecologia 51: 151 -156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barclay R. M. R. 1982. Interindividual use of echolocation calls: eavesdropping by bats. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 10: 271–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barlow K. E. and Jones G. 1997a. Differences in songflight calls and social calls between two phonic types of the vespertilionid batPipistrellus pipistrellus. Journal of Zoology, London 241: 315–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barlow K. E. and Jones G. 1997b. Function of pipistrelle social calls: field data and a playback experiment. Animal Behaviour 53: 991–999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bartoniěka T. and Řehák Z. 2005. Variability in echolocation calls ofPipistrellus pygmaeus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) during search flight in different habitats. Acta Theriologica 50: 145–160.Google Scholar
  6. Catto C. M. C., Hutson A. M., and Racey P. A. 1995. Activity patterns of the serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) at a roost in southern England. Journal of Zoology, London 235: 635–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kronwitter F. 1998. Population structure, habitat use and activity patterns of the noctule bat,Nyctalus noctula Schreb., 1774 (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) revealed by radio-tracking. Myotis 26: 23–85.Google Scholar
  8. Lewis T. and Taylor L. R. 1964. Diurnal periodicity of flight by insects. Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 116: 396–435.Google Scholar
  9. McCracken G. F. and Wilkinson G. S. 2000. Bat mating systems. [In: Reproductive biology of bats. E. G. Crichton, P. H. Krutzsch, eds]. Academic Press, San Diego London Orlando Boston New York Sydney Tokyo: 321–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Milne D. J., Fisher A., Rainey I. and Pavey C. R. 2005. Temporal patterns of bats in the top end of the Northern Territory, Australia. Journal of Mammalogy 86: 909–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Negraeff O. E. and Brigham R. M. 1995. The influence of moonlight on the activity of Little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 60: 330–336.Google Scholar
  12. Nicholls B. and Racey P. A. 2006. Habitat selection as a mechanism of resource partitioning in two cryptic bat speciesPipistrellus pipistrellus andPipistrellus pygmaeus. Ecography 29: 697–708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. O’Farrell M. J., Bradley W. J. and Jones G. W. 1967. Fall and winter bat activity at a desert spring in southern Nevada. South-western Naturalist:12: 163–171.Google Scholar
  14. O’Farrell M. J. and Bradley W. J. 1970. Activity patterns of bats over a desert spring. Journal of Mammalogy 51: 133–135.Google Scholar
  15. Racey P. A. and Tam W. H. 1974. Reproduction in malePipistrellus pipistrellus (Mammalia: Chiroptera). Journal of Zoology, London 172: 101–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Racey P. A. and Swift S. M. 1985. Feeding ecology ofPipistrellus pipistrellus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) during pregnancy and lactation. 1. Foraging behaviour. Journal of Animal Ecology 54: 205–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Richardson P. 2000. Distribution atlas of bats in Britain and Ireland 1980 – 1999. Bat Conservation Trust, London: 1–43.Google Scholar
  18. Russ J. M., Racey P. A. and Jones G. 1998. Intraspecific responses to distress calls of the pipistrelle bat,Pipistrellus pipistrellus. Animal Behaviour 55: 705–713.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Russ J. M. 2001. The bats of Britain and Ireland: echo-lo cation, sound analysis, and species identification. Alana Books, Powys: 1–104.Google Scholar
  20. Russo D. and Jones G. 2003. Use of foraging habitats by bats in a Mediterranean area determined by acoustic surveys: conservation implications. Ecography 26: 197–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rydell J. 1990. Ecology of the northern batEptesicus nilssonii during pregnancy and lactation. PhD thesis, Lund University, Lund: 1–103.Google Scholar
  22. Rydell J., Bushby A., Cosgrove C. C. and Racey P. A. 1994. Habitat use by bats along rivers in North-east Scotland. Folia Zoologica 43: 417–424.Google Scholar
  23. Swift S. M. 1980. Activity patterns of Pipistrelle bats (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) in north-east Scotland. Journal of Zoology, London 190: 285–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Swift S. M. 1981. Foraging, colonial and maternal behaviour of bats in north-east Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen: 1–208Google Scholar
  25. Vaughan N., Jones G. and Harris S. 1996. Effects of sewerage effluent on the activity of bats (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) foraging along rivers. Biological Conservation 78: 337–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Vaughan N., Jones G. and Harris S. 1997. Habitat use by bats (Chiroptera) assessed by means of a broad-band acoustic method. Journal of Applied Ecology 34: 716–730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Verboom B. and Huitema H. 1997. The importance of linear landscape elements for the pipistrellePipistrellus pipistrellus and the serotine batEptesicus serotinus. Landscape Ecology 12: 117–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Verboom B. and Spoelstra K. 1999. Effects of food abundance and wind on the use of tree lines by an insectivorous bat,Pipistrellus pipistrellus. Canadian Journal of Zoology 77: 1393–1401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wallin L. 1961. Territorialism on the hunting ground ofMyotis daubentonii. Säugetierkundliche Mitteillungen 9: 156–159.Google Scholar
  30. Walsh A. L. and Harris S. 1996a. Foraging habitat preferences of vespertilionid bats in Britain. Journal of Applied Ecology 33: 508–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Walsh A. L. and Harris S. 1996b. Factors determining the abundance of vespertilionid bats in Britain: geographical, land class and local habitat relationships. Journal of Applied Ecology 33: 519–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wilkinson G. S. 1995. Information transfer in bats. [In: Ecology, evolution and behaviour of bats. P. A. Racey and S. M. Swift, eds]. Symposium of the Zoological Society of London No. 67. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 345–360.Google Scholar
  33. Wilkinson G. S. and Boughman J. W. 1998. Social calls coordinate foraging in greater spear-nosed bats. Animal Behaviour 55: 337–350.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences, Tillydrone AvenueUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations