False serotine bat (Hesperoptenus doriae)

False serotine bat
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False serotine bat fact file

False serotine bat description

GenusHesperoptenus (1)

With very dark brown or black curly fur and a blunt nose, the false serotine bat has a sheep-like head and face. The ears are short and rounded, the flap of skin inside them, known as the tragus, has a slightly hatchet shape. The wings are dark and long with pointed tips to improve flight speed and the tail is long (2).

Forearm length: 38 - 41 mm (2)
Tail length: 40 mm (2)

False serotine bat biology

Very little is known about this rare and elusive bat species. The female false serotine bat gives birth to a single pup each year which is fed milk until it can fly and forage alone. It feeds on small insects above rivers and in open spaces in the rainforest, such as around tree falls. It uses echolocation to navigate its surroundings and to locate its prey. Repeated ultrasonic shouts are emitted which bounce off nearby objects, returning to the bat’s ears as echoes. These echoes are interpreted by the bat’s brain and a picture is built up of its environment (5).


False serotine bat range

The false serotine bat is found in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo (3).


False serotine bat habitat

Found in primary forest and caves between 500 and 1,500 metres above sea level (4).


False serotine bat status

Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Data Deficient


False serotine bat threats

The habitat of this species is being lost as a result of human activities. Deforestation of primary rainforest is ongoing in order to create land for homes, agriculture and, importantly, oil palm. Oil palm plantations cover vast areas of Peninsula Malaysia and Borneo and are highly profitable, since palm oil is a versatile product. Malaysia’s production of palm oil has doubled in the last 20 years, whilst Indonesia’s has tripled. Together they hold a large proportion of the global market, with 88 percent of the world exports coming from these two countries alone (6).


False serotine bat conservation

Deforestation of primary forest for oil palm plantations, including within protected areas, is an issue of major concern and one that relies on both governmental action and consumer concern. Some large retailers have agreed, in collaboration with the WWF, to source products containing palm oil from plantations that are not on deforested land (6). Many scientific and charitable groups contribute to bat monitoring and local education programmes that can help to reduce persecution and raise awareness of the natural assets of the land (7).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.


This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk


Detecting objects by reflected sound. Used for orientation and detecting and locating prey by bats and cetacea (whales and dolphins).
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
Sounds that are above the range of human hearing.


  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
  2. Yasuma, S., Andau, M., Apin, L., Tuh Yit Ya, F. and Kimsui, L. (2003) Identification keys to the mammals of Borneo. Sabah Parks and JICA, Borneo.
  3. Corbet, G.B. and Hill, J.E. (1992) The Mammals of the Indomalayan Region: a systematic review. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Nor, S. (1996) The Mammalian Fauna on the islands at the Northern Tip of Sabah, Borneo. Fieldiana – Zoology, 83: 17 - 28.
  5. Animal Diversity Web (December, 2005)
  6. Europa World (January, 2005)
  7. Maltby, A. (2006) Pers. comm.

Image credit

False serotine bat  
False serotine bat

© Alanna Collen

Alanna Collen


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