Egyptian pipistrelle (Pipistrellus deserti)

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Egyptian pipistrelle fact file

Egyptian pipistrelle description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderChiroptera
FamilyVespertilionidae
GenusPipistrellus (1)

The Egyptian pipistrelle is a small bat with long ears, which are rounded at the tips, and long tragi (3). Its long, dense fur is usually dark brown in colour, yet can vary between shades of grey, reddish-brown and pale brown (3), with the fur on the underside being a lighter shade than the fur on the back. A characteristic white stripe, commonly more than five millimetres wide, runs along the wing membranes, and some individuals also have white skin on the fingers and the veins in the flight membranes (4). Egyptian pipistrelle females are often slightly larger than the males (4).

Due to a lack of obvious distinguishing features, it can be difficult to identify different species in the Pipistrellus genus, a name which comes from the Italian word ‘pipistrello’ meaning bat (5). However, the number of teeth is one character that may be used to distinguish between different pipistrelle species; the Egyptian pipistrelle typically has 34 teeth (5).

Size
Head-body length: 6.9 - 8.1 cm (2)
Tail length: 3.1 - 3.8 cm (2)
Forearm length: 2.9 - 3.3 cm (2)
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Egyptian pipistrelle biology

There is very little known about the biology of the Egyptian pipistrelle, although it is likely to be similar to that of other pipistrelle bats. Pipistrelle bats are typically the first species of bat to come out in the evenings (3), when, characterised by their jerky, erratic flight, they hunt for insects, which are caught on the wing (6). This species uses echolocation (at a frequency of 44 to 47 kilohertz) to detect prey in the sparse deserts of Africa (4).

Pipistrelle bats typically roost in small colonies of around 10 to 12 individuals, although on occasions this number can be slightly larger (2) (10). Thought to give birth in April or May (2), the Egyptian pipistrelle probably produces two young per birth (3).

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Egyptian pipistrelle range

The Egyptian pipistrelle is found in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Ghana (1) (6) (7) (8).

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Egyptian pipistrelle habitat

The Egyptian pipistrelle, which is known to be strongly thermophilic (thrive at high temperatures) (9), occurs in subtropical and tropical dry scrubland, rocky areas, and in hot deserts (4). It is most commonly found near oases with palm trees, in which it is believed to roost (2), although it has also been observed roosting in buildings and rocky areas (1).

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Egyptian pipistrelle status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Egyptian pipistrelle threats

The Egyptian pipistrelle is currently not considered threatened, as it has been described as widespread over its range, and is often the most common species found at Saharan oases (1).

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Egyptian pipistrelle conservation

There are no known conservation efforts currently in place for the Egyptian pipistrelle (1).

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Find out more

To learn more about bat conservation see:

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Authentication

Checked (24/08/10) by Dr Francis Gilbert, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham.
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~plzfg/

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

Echolocation
Detecting objects by reflected sound. Used by bats and odontocete cetaceans (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises) for orientation and to detect and locate prey.
Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Tragi
(singular tragus) the soft cartilaginous projections extending in front of the external openings of the ears. In bats, they play an important role in filtering returning echoes in echolocation.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Hoath, R. (2009) A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo.
  3. Nowak, R.M. (1994) Walker’s Bats of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  4. Dietz, C. (2005) Illustrated Identification Key to the Bats of Egypt. Electronic Publication. Version 1.0, Tuebingen, Germany. Available at:
    http://wildlifeconservationproducts.com/Library/Egypt/Egypt%20Terrestrial/Bats/Identification%20key%20to%20the%20bats%20of%20Egypt.pdf
  5. Qumsiyeh, M.B. (1996) Mammals of the Holy Land. Texas Tech University Press, Texas.
  6. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker’s Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  7. Hutson, A.M., Mickleburgh, S.P. and Racey, P. (2001) Microchiropteran Bats: Global Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Chiroptera Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
  8. Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. (2005) Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  9. Pereswiet-Soltan, A. (2007) Relation between climate and bat fauna in Europe. Travaux du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Grigore Antipa, 60 : 505-515.
  10. Mills, M.G.L. and Hes, L. (1997) The Complete Book of Southern African Mammals. Struick Publishers, Cape Town.
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