Alcathoe’s Bat

From the late 1970s small whiskered-type bats started to be reported from shady valleys in forested areas of Greece that differed from other local species. However, differences were small, so it was only in 2001 that Alcathoe’s Bat was described as a new species following the use of genetic methods. Since its original discovery the species has been recorded in a number of countries across Europe. The first records of Alcathoe’s Bat in the UK were confirmed in 2010 in Sussex and the North York Moors from wing biopsy samples taken in earlier years. Its confirmed presence at sites 350km apart suggests that it is an established resident species that has previously gone unnoticed. Although very similar to the Whiskered Bat, Alcathoe’s distinctive echolocation call, which terminates at a significantly higher frequency than those of its relatives (43-46 kHz) and some subtle physical differences makes identification possible without genetic analysis. The sites at which Alcathoe’s bat have been recorded are characterised by semi-natural broadleaved woodland. Currently this species has been recorded only at an autumn swarming site and a tree roost in the North York Moors National Park.

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