> Western Barbastelle
A medium sized bat (7-10g) with a blunt snout, short and wide ears turned forward and united above the forehead. The hair of this bat is almost black and has lighter tips, which is the reason for its Portuguese common name – dark bat.
Behaviour and reproduction:
The mating season is long, extending from the end of summer until winter. The offspring are born in June and breastfed during six weeks. They can reach sexual maturity during the first year of life.
This species feeds mostly on nocturnal butterflies or moths.
It roosts in cavities, under tree bark or inside rock cracks during spring and summer. The winter roosts also include abandoned mines and caves, where it sometimes hibernates close to the entrance. The species is strongly associated with native old-growth forests. It often hunts near the vegetation, and sometimes along the tree lines or next to riparian vegetation.
It is almost an European endemism, being found in practically the whole Europe, from continental Portugal until the Caucasus. It is found in several areas of northern and central Portugal. In the south its presence is limited to the proximity of waterlines from the North, Centre, coastal Alentejo and western part of Algarve.
The main conservation threat is the destruction of native leafy forests by fires and forestations with faster growth species. The maintenance of large trees in less adequate habitats may increase the availability of shelters for the barbastelle.
It belongs to Annex II and IV of the Habitats Directive and has a Conservation Status for Portugal of Not Studied (Cabral et al., 2005) and Almost Threatened at World Level (IUCN 2008).