Barbastella beijingensis

Beijing barbastelle


Morphological description Life history Distribution Habitat Roost sites and roosting patterns Emergence and flight pattern Foraging behaviour Echolocation calls Status and protection


Barbastella beijingensis

Barbastella beijingensis


Morphological Description

· The dorsal fur is dark black with brown-gray tips, the ventral fur is lighter than the dorsal pelage.

· This is a relatively small bat among species of the order Chiroptera in China, but relatively large in the genus Barbastella . Forearm length 41.1-46.4 mm.

· Ear length is 13.1-15.5 mm; the ears are brownish-black and have transverse ridges. The outline of the ears is nearly square: as in many B. barbastellus there is a slender and delicate projecting lobe or vaulted process on the outer edge of the pinna. The ears are forward facing and join across the forehead.

· Body mass 10.5-13.9 g (as given by Zhang et al. 2007).

Life history

· Unstudied to date.


The Chinese distribution is shown by the dot on the map (from Zhang et al . 2007).



· So far known only from the type locality and a nearby cave. We found the new barbastelle species 4 times in Fangshan District, about 100 km southwest of Beijing . The San-Liu-Shui Village is in a mountainous region with riparian woodland, and the roost site was an abandoned tunnel, more than 1 km in length. Other caves were also important diurnal roost sites. The surrounding vegetation is classified as warm temperate zone forest. Most of the native forest consists of Chinese pine ( Pinus tabulaeformis ), arborvitae ( Sabina chinensis ) and oak ( Quercus mongolica and Q. liaotungensis ).

Roost sites and roosting behaviour

· Only known roost is in a cave.

· We also found them at an abandoned tunnel.

· In the cave, this species can share their roosts with other bat species. In the distribution areas, at least 4 bat species roosting in the same cave as the Beijing barbastelle: Rhinolophus ferrumequinum , Myotis ricketti , Myotis blythii , and an unidentified Murina.

Emergence and flight pattern

· Not known

Foraging behaviour

· Little known.

Echolocation calls

· The bat alternated 2 signal types.

To listen to the call of the Beijing barbastelle, click here

Size of sound file: 164 kb

One call type followed a convex frequency-time course ( n = 10).

Interpulse interval: 99.0 + 28.0 ms, call duration: 8.2 + 1.7 ms, start frequency: 42.7 + 1.6 kHz, end frequency: 25.1 + 1.4 kHz.

The power spectrum on the left shows that the maximum power of the call is at a frequency of approximately 39.4 + 0.7 kHz.

Another call type was interspersed with brief, frequency modulated signals with a lower frequency of most energy ( n = 6).

Call duration: 5.1 + 0.8 ms, start frequency: 39.2 + 1.6 kHz, end frequency: 26.8 + 0.5 kHz. The maximum power of the call is at a frequency of approximately 32.1 + 1.9 kHz. Spectrogram below.

Status and protection

· Since it is a new species, there is no assessment in the Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN, 2007) and the species is not listed in the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife in 1989. We conducted many field surveys in Fangshan, Beijing , from 1997-2006 and found B. beijingensis only 4 times, suggesting that it might be rare.

· Caves and abandoned tunnels should be protected as their habitats.

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