Named after the man who first discovered the species (3), Botta’s serotine is a small bat with short, white fur on the underside and browner hairs across most of the face and back, with a patch of dark, naked skin running from the snout, along the muzzle to the eyes (4). Botta’s serotine displays a wide range of body sizes and colouration, depending on the region it is from. Some of these variants, such as those found in Egypt, are considered subspecies(5), while other populations, such as those in Turkey and northern Syria, are considered by some scientists to be entirely separate species (1).
A nocturnal bat, Botta’s serotine leaves its roost at dusk to hunt insects using echolocation (6), a remarkable method of navigation in which the bat produces sounds, or clicks, which reflect off surrounding objects and are picked up again by the bat’s ears. The time it takes for the sound to return reveals the size and location of objects in the bat’s surroundings (7).
Little is known about the reproductive cycle of Botta’s serotine, but generally bats have one, or occasionally two, pups a year (8); a female Botta’s serotine has been found carrying two developing embryos (3). Surprisingly for their small size, bats generally have relatively long life-spans (8); the life-span of this species may be similar to the closely related serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) which is known to live up to 19 years (9).
Botta’s serotine is found in almost all habitats except for true desert, including cultivated areas of eucalyptus, date groves, ponds, riversides and mountains, up to an altitude of 3,400 metres (2). It roosts in crevices found in buildings and ruins, as well as natural cracks in rocks (1).
As Botta’s serotine is often found inhabiting crevices in ruins, the decrease in the number of ruins and the disturbance of many others by tourists may be affecting this species in certain areas, although this is not considered to be a major threat to the species at present (1).
Botta’s serotine is one of the species protected through Eurobats, the Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (10). This agreement aims to protect European bat species through legislation, education and conservation measures (10).
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Hoath, R. (2009) A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo, Egypt.
Qumsiyeh, M.B. (1996) Mammals of the Holy Land. Texas Tech University Press, Texas.
Hoath, R. (2006) Mammal Mania. EgyptToday, 2006: 42-43.
Horáček, I., Hanák V. and Gaisler J. (2000) Bats of the Palearctic Region: A Taxonomic and Biogeograpic Review. Proceedings of the VIIIth EBRS, 1: 11-157.
Holderied, M., Korine, C., Brock Fenton, M., Parsons, S., Robson, S. and Jones, G. (2005) Echolocation call intensity in the aerial hawking bat Eptesicus bottae (Vespertilionidae) studied using stereo videogrammetry.The Journal of Experimental Biology, 208: 1321-1327.
Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
Burton, R. (2002) International Wildlife Encyclopedia. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, New York.
Schober, W. and Grimmberger, E. (1987) A Guide to Bats of Britain and Europe. Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London.
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