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Common bent-wing bat
Miniopterus schreibersii dasythrix.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Genus:
Miniopterus
Species:
schreibersii

The common bent-wing bat, Schreibers's long-fingered bat, or Schreibers's bat refers to a species of insectivorous bat, a taxonomic complex of subspecies and probably several species in the family Miniopteridae currently named as Miniopterus schreibersii. They appear to have dispersed from a subtropical origin and distributed throughout the southern Palearctic, Ethiopic, Oriental, and Australian regions. In Europe, it is present in the southern half on the continent from Iberia to the Caucasus, with the largest populations found in the warmer Mediterranean area. The common and scientific names honor Carl Franz Anton Ritter von Schreibers.

Taxonomy

There are 13 recognised subspecies of the common bent-winged bat.

  • Miniopterus schreibersii schreibersii
  • Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii (southern bent-wing bat): Found in southeastern Australia, this subspecies is critically endangered.
  • Miniopterus schreibersii blepotis
  • Miniopterus schreibersii chinensis
  • Miniopterus schreibersii dasythrix
  • Miniopterus schreibersii eschscholtzii
  • Miniopterus schreibersii haradai
  • Miniopterus schreibersii japoniae
  • Miniopterus schreibersii orianae (northern bent-wing bat) Found in northeastern Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
  • Miniopterus schreibersii orsinii
  • Miniopterus schreibersii parvipes
  • Miniopterus schreibersii smitianus
  • Miniopterus schreibersii villiersi

Three former subspecies that were included in M.scheibersii have now been given species status. They are Miniopterus fuliginosus (eastern bent-wing bat), Miniopterus oceanensis (Australasian bent-wing bat) and Miniopterus pallidus (Pale Bent-wing Bat).

Roosting

Miniopterus scheibersii 02
Colony of common bent-wing bats hanging in a cluster

The common bent-wing bat is a bat that forms major colonies and the longest period of torpor (hibernation) observed was about 12 days. These colonies can range anywhere from a few dozen or several million bats. Most of these colonies are formed in large caves or mines but they can also be found in other areas such as tunnels or ruins or other man made sites. In these roosting sites the common bent-wing bat establishes its colony in a "bell-shaped" hollow, which traps body heat and raises the temperature of the roost higher than the surrounding portions of the cave. This method of trapping warmth is used to reduce energy loss from shivering. Also, they will often enter hollows through small openings in order to better secure themselves from large predators during torpor. The common bent-wing bat migrates multiple times a year depending on weather of the roosting area; the length of these migrations can vary but the longest migration recorded was 833 km.

Threats

The common bent-wing bat is categorized as "near threatened" according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The explanation for the recent cause of these deaths is unknown but there have been many speculations as to why the mortality rate for this bat has increased. Researchers in Europe believe that the loss of underground habitats, the disturbance of their habitats, and pesticide use has caused an increase in deaths for the common bent-wing bat. In Australia researchers suspect that the high tissue levels of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) they found in the common bent-wing bat, including the young ones that had not left the maternity roosts, was the cause of these deaths.

Distribution

The common bent-wing bat can be found in the following countries:Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Croatia, Cyprus, possibly Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, possibly Kenya, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

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