The brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) is the second most common bat in the UK after the pipistrelles. As the name might suggest, it has very long ears that are almost as long as the body. When at rest, the ears are often tucked away under a wing or curled back with just the long tragus visible. This medium-sized bat has broad wings, its long fur is grey-brown in colour on the dorsal side and its ventral is a lighter grey. Juveniles are pale grey in colour, lacking the brown tinges of the adults. The frequencies used by P. auritus for echolocation lie between 27-56 kHz, have most energy at 45 kHz and have an average duration of 2.5 ms. (Parsons & Jones, 2000); (Obrist et al, 2004)
Found in deciduous and coniferous open woodlands, along hedgerows as well as parks and gardens. It hunts above woodland for moths and other insects, often by day, taking insects from leaves and bark. This is one of the bats for which eyesight is more important than echolocation in finding prey (Stevens, 2005). In summer it roosts in colonies in buildings, tree holes, and bat boxes. Solitary animals also roost in underground sites. In winter it hibernates in caves, old mines, buildings and occasionally trees.
- Parsons, S. & Jones, G.2000. Acoustic identification of twelve species of echolocating bat by discriminant function analysis and artificial neural networks. J Exp Biol., 203: 2641-2656.
- Obrist, M.K., Boesch, R. & Flückiger, P.F. 2004. Variability in echolocation call design of 26 Swiss bat species: Consequences, limits and options for automated field identification with a synergic pattern recognition approach. Mammalia., 68 (4): 307-32.
- Stevens, M. 2005. The role of eyespots as anti-predator mechanisms, principally demonstrated in the Lepidoptera. Biol. Rev. 80(4): 573–588
Compiled by David Mallaburn