Sardinian long-eared bat (Plecotus sardus)

Sardinian long-eared bat
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Sardinian long-eared bat fact file

Sardinian long-eared bat description

GenusPlecotus (1)

First identified as recently as 2002 (2), the Sardinian long-eared bat (Plecotus sardus) has brownish fur on the back, relatively large thumbs and thumb claws, and a relatively long and wide tragus (2). All Plecotus bats are distinguished by their relatively enormous ears, which measure up to four centimetres long and are joined at the base by a prominent septum (3). Although very closely related to other European long-eared bats, especially the brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) and the mountain long-eared bat (Plecotus macrobullaris) (4), genetic analysis distinguished this species from other long-eared bats (2).

Oreillard Sarde.
Orejudo Sardo.
Body length: 4.5 cm (2)
Forearm length: 4 cm (2)
6.5 - 9.5 g (2)

Sardinian long-eared bat biology

Little is known about the biology of the Sardinian long-eared bat due to the small amount of research that has been undertaken on this species, although it can be assumed that it shares a similar lifestyle to the other European long-eared bats. Long-eared bats (Plecotus species) are typically gregarious creatures that roost in colonies, and mate in the autumn, hibernate in winter, and give birth in spring. Long-eared bats generally give birth to a single young, which is weaned after six to seven weeks and reaches sexual maturity after one to three years (3).

The large ears and eyes suggest that the Sardinian long-eared bat uses a combination of echolocation, sight and sound to locate and catch prey such as moths and other flying insects, in the same way as other long-eared bats. The brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) has been observed gleaning insects by listening to tiny movements made by the prey; this could also be a potential strategy used by the Sardinian long-eared bat (5).


Sardinian long-eared bat range

Found only on Sardinia (Italy), the Sardinian long-eared bat has been found at just three sites on the island, with two of them being located in the same National Park (1).


Sardinian long-eared bat habitat

The Sardinian long-eared bat occurs in heavily wooded areas and roosts in caves at low altitudes (2).


Sardinian long-eared bat status

The Sardinian long-eared bat is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Sardinian long-eared bat threats

Roost disturbance due to tourism and habitat lost caused by deforestation are the two major threats to the Sardinian long-eared bat (1).


Sardinian long-eared bat conservation

Two of the three known localities of the Sardinian long-eared bat are situated within the Gennargentu National Park (1), which will hopefully offer its habitat some protection. There is a need to preserve foraging and roosting habitats of the Sardinian long-eared bat, and it has been recommended that more research is undertaken on the extent of its distribution (1). The Sardinian long-eared bat is also one of the 45 bat species to which The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS) applies. This agreement aims to protect European bats through legislation, education, conservation measures and international cooperation (6).


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This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


Detecting objects by reflected sound. Used by bats and odontocete cetaceans (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises) for orientation and to detect and locate prey.
Hibernation is a winter survival strategy characteristic of some mammals in which an animal’s metabolic rate slows down and a state of deep sleep is attained. Whilst hibernating, animals survive on stored reserves of fat that they have accumulated in summer.
A soft cartilaginous projection extending in front of the external opening of the ear. In bats, it plays an important role in filtering returning echoes in echolocation.


  1. IUCN Red List (October, 2010)
  2. Mucedda, M., Kiefer, A., Pidinchedda, E. and Veith, M. (2002) A new species of long-eared bat (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae) from Sardinia (Italy). Acta Chiropterologica, 4(2): 121-135.
  3. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker’s Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  4. Spitzenberger, F., Strelkov, P.P., Winkler, H. and Haring, E. (2006) A preliminary revisision of the genus Plectous (Chiroptera, Vespertiliondae) based on genetic and morphological results. Zoologica Scripta, 35(3): 187-230.
  5. Ekölf, J. and Jones, G. (2003) Use of vision in prey detection by brown long-eared bats, Plecotus auritus. Animal Behaviour, 66(5): 949-953.
  6. EUROBATS (November, 2010)

Image credit

Sardinian long-eared bat  
Sardinian long-eared bat

© Mauro Mucedda

Mauro Mucedda


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