Barbastella barbastellus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Barbastella barbastellus
Species Authority: (Schreber, 1774)
Common Name(s):
English Western Barbastelle, Barbastelle
French Barbastelle Commune, Barbastelle D'Europe
Spanish Barbastela
Taxonomic Notes: The genus comprises two Palaearctic species with little overlap in range. The population from the Canaries is at present regarded as endemic subspecies B. barbastellus guanchae (Trujillo et al. 2002, Juste et al. 2003).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hutson, A.M., Aulagnier, S. & Spitzenberger, F.
Reviewer(s): Hutson, A.M., Racey, P.A. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Although this species has a large range, it is generally rare, occurring in low density and numbers. It is mainly sedentary. The population is fragmented and linked to particular kinds of old forest habitats, which are declining. The species does not easily colonise new areas. Declines are widely reported in most of its range with a few exceptions in recent years. The status of this species is linked to forestry practices and the decline in the number of old trees (one colony may use up to 30 old trees with holes each summer season). Has specific habitat and diet requirements. Listed as Near Threatened (approaching A4c), as it is suspected that population declines will approach 30% over a 15 year period including both the past and the future.
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Barbastella barbastellus is largely restricted to central and southern Europe, although its range extends into the Caucasus, Anatolia, Morocco (North Africa) and the Canary Islands (La Gomera and Tenerife only). It occurs to 1,800 m in the Alps (Spitzenberger 2002), 1,900 m in the Caucasus and 2,260 m in the Pyrenees (Mitchell-Jones et al. 1999, K. Tsytsulina pers. comm. 2005).
Andorra; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Holy See (Vatican City State); Hungary; Ireland; Italy (Sardegna, Sicilia); Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; San Marino; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Baleares, Canary Is.); Sweden; Switzerland; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Possibly extinct:
Regionally extinct:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A rare or infrequent species. Summer colonies, usually c. 30. Winter clusters usually small (often solitary), but can reach 500 and, rarely, up to 1,000 in France, Poland and over 7,000 in Slovakia (Schober 2004). Extinct in the Netherlands since 1984. Last recorded in Norway in 1949, and possibly extinct there (van der Kooij in litt. 2006). Decreases widely reported. Considered threatened in many range states. Very small numbers in large part of the range with large temporary aggregations in areas without natural caves. Populations increasing in the last 5 years in Germany now that insecticide use has been reduced (D. Kock pers. comm. 2005). Relatively frequent in woodlands in western part of Caucasus and without reported decline; rare in Ukraine (S. Kruskop pers. comm. 2005). In Africa, population size and trends are unknown.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Forages in mature woodland, woodland edge (and agricultural edge). Feeds on small moths. Summer roosts: usually older mature woodland with maternity sites in trees (occasionally older buildings). Depends on a large number of old trees to roost in a large part of its range, because individuals change their roosts very frequently and colonies need a large number of roost sites for this reason. Winter: Hibernation may start in trees, but later underground sites are preferred. Usually in smaller numbers (up to 50) in natural caves, but in regions where these are missing in large groups in mines and bunkers. Underground habitats maybe of any type, but usually very cold sites. Recorded in old mines in winter in the Caucasus (K. Tsytsulina pers. comm. 2005). Movements up to 290 km in Austria (Kepka 1960).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Loss of old mature woodland and ancient trees with loose bark or wood crevices (reforested areas are not suitable for this species); disturbance and loss of underground habitats, disturbance and loss of roost sites in older buildings. In Germany, habitat loss and fragmentation (caused by inter alia infrastructure development, forestry, and the renovation or demolition of old buildings used as roost sites), and disturbance (e.g. from cave tourism) are major threats (Schulenberg 2005); accidental mortality (roadkill) is also a problem (Rudolph et al. 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is protected by national legislation in most range states. There are also international legal obligations for its protection through the Bonn Convention (Eurobats) and Bern Convention where these apply. It is included in Annex II (and IV) of EU Habitats and Species Directive, and hence requires special measures for conservation including designation of Special Areas for Conservation. Some habitat protection through Natura 2000. Research is underway to establish conservation requirements for this species. Recommendations include adopting forestry practices that maintain old trees in sufficient numbers.

Bibliography [top]

Juste, J., Ibañez, C., Trujillo, D., Muñoz, J. and Ruedi, M. 2003. Phylogeography of the barbastelles bats (Barbastella barbastellus) from the western Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. Acta Chiropterologica 5(2): 165-175.

Kepka, O. 1960. Die Ergenbisse der Fledermausberingung in der Steinmark vom Jahr 1949-1960. Bonner Zoologische Beitrage 11: 54-76.

Mitchell-Jones, A. J., Amori, G., Bogdanowicz, W., Kryštufek, B., Reijnders, P. J. H., Spitzenberger, F., Stubbe, M., Thissen, J. B. M., Vohralik, V. and Zima, J. 1999. The Atlas of European Mammals. Academic Press, London, UK.

Rudolph, B.-U., Hammer, M. and Zahn, A. 2003. Die Mopsfledermaus Barbastella barbastellus in Bayern.

Schober, W. 2004. Barbastella barbastellus (Schreber, 1774) – Mopsfledermaus. Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas, Band 4: Fledertiere, Teil 2: Chiroptera 2: Vespertilionidae 2, Molossidae, Nycteridae: 1071-1091.

Schulenberg, J. 2005. Säugetiere (Mammalia). In: A. Gunther, U. Nigmann, R. Achtziger (ed.), Analyse der Gefährdungsursachen von planungsrelevanten Tiergruppen in Deutschland zur Ergänzung der bestehenden Roten Listen gefährdeter Tiere.- Schriftenr, pp. 70-112. Biol Vielfalt, BfN, Bonn-Bad Godesberg.

Spitzenberger F. 2002. Die Säugetierfauna Österreichs. Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft. Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft, Band.

Trujillo, D., Ibañez, C. and Juste, J. 2002. A new subspecies of Barbastella barbastellus (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Canary Islands. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 109: 543-550.

Citation: Hutson, A.M., Aulagnier, S. & Spitzenberger, F. 2008. Barbastella barbastellus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 29 March 2015.
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