Thirty-four bat species are currently present in Italy, belonging to 11 genera and four families. Moreover, two species were recorded in the past (Rhinolophus blasii and Myotis dasycneme) but no recent confirmation of their occurrence is available. Finally, one taxon, Myotis aurascens, also occur in the country, but its specific status is a matter of debate since its description is based on morphology only and has not been validated by molecular analyses.

 

Legenda


Measurements are given in millimetres and grams. Figures in brackets express the minimum and maximum values observed, whereas the remainder are those commonly encountered. The measures provided for each species have been selected to give the reader an idea of actual bat size. 
Head-body length: from end of muzzle to anus, tail excluded.
Tail length: from tail insertion to tip. All European bats have a membrane including their tail either completely, as for most species, or partially as in the European free-tailed bat. 
Forearm length: from elbow to wrist, it is well observable on closed wings. 
Wingspan: the distance between the ends of the wings held open.
Weight: in grams.

 

Family RHINOLOPHIDAE – HORSESHOE BATS


They are named after the peculiar structure surrounding their nostrils (the “noseleaf”) and resembling a ‘horseshoe’ when seen from the front. Such structure has an adaptive value since it helps convey the ultrasound emitted through the nostrils.

Genus Rhinolophus

 

Family VESPERTILIONIDAE – COMMON BATS


Most European bats belong to this family which includes eight genera and 28 species. Unlike horseshoe bats, their ears bear a tragus, i.e. a cartilaginous process involved in the perception of echoes bouncing back from objects. Common bats mostly emit ultrasounds from their mouth, with some exceptions (e.g. genus Plecotus) which broadcast them from the nostrils. Their muzzle shows no noseleaf.

Genere Barbastella

 

Genere Eptesicus

 

Genere Hypsugo

 

Genere Myotis

 

Genere Nyctalus

 

Genere Pipistrellus

 

Genere Plecotus

 

Genere Vespertilio

  

Family MINIOPTERIDAE


Present in Italy and Europe with only one species. Like common bats, their muzzle has no noseleaf and ears bear a tragus. Ears are very small and their third finger has a very long phalanx which renders the wing typically long and narrow.

Genere Miniopterus

 

 
Family MOLOSSIDAE – FREE-TAILED BATS


Present in Italy and Europe with only one species. Like common bats, their muzzle has no noseleaf and ears bear a tragus. Their distinctive character is the tail which is free from the wing membrane for a minimum length of 1.5 cm, unlike all other European bats.

Genere Tadarida

 

Acknowledgements


The description of the species was made possible by the participation of several authors.
Many thanks to:
Bertozzi Massimo (Mediterranean horseshoe bat)
Dondini Gianna (Leisler’s bat and Greater noctule)
Martinoli Adriano (Alpine long-eared bat)
Mucedda Mauro (Sardinian long-eared bat, Mehely’s horseshoe bat, Greater mouse-eared bat, Maghrebian mouse-eared bat, and advice on Bechstein’s bat, Natterer’s bat and Lesser mouse-eared bat)
Russo Danilo (Barbastelle, Common pipistrelle, Soprano pipistrelle)
Salicini Irene (Serotine)
Vergari Simone (Leisler’s bat and Greater noctule)

 

Literature


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