Pipistrellus pipistrelluscommon pipistrelle

Geographic Range

Pipistrellus pipistrellus, or the Common Pipistrelle, is found throughout Europe, including the northern countries, such as England, Ireland and even reaching Southern Scandinavia. Its range extends eastward through Asia to China and perhaps Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.


This species is very common in both towns and cities. It can also be found in parks and forests. During the summer months, it can be found in cracks on the outside of buildings, behind shutters, and unfinished houses. Pipistrellus pipistrellus have been discovered in winter roosts in churches, limestone mines, cracks in walls, and cellars.

Physical Description

The Common Pipistrelle is one of the smallest bats. It has a wingspan between 180-240mm, and its wings are narrow. Like other bats in the Vespertilionidae, Pipistrellus pipistrellus has a tragus, and in this species, the tragus is rounded at the top and quite long. The pelage is usually brown, but other colors, such as chesnut and dark brown have also been observed. Their wing and tail membranes are dark brown, and they do not have any fur on them. Cranial characertistics include a dental formula of 2/3,1/1,2/2,3/3, no postorbital process, and a separated premaxillae that is fused to the maxillae.

  • Range mass
    3.5 to 8 g
    0.12 to 0.28 oz


Females of this species become sexually mature in their first year and mate, while males usually become sexually mature in their second year. During the mating season (late August to late September) females can be found roosting in maternity roosts. Within these roosts, males occupy a and defend a specific territory. Courtship includes courtship flights and the emission of a strong musky odor by the males. If mating occurs at an inopportune time, females are able to delay the onset of fertilization by a process called delayed fertilization, which is a common characteristic in the Vespertilionidae. Females usually give birth to twins in June to early July. These youngsters are able to fly by three to four weeks of age.

  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 2
  • Average number of offspring
  • Range gestation period
    35 to 51 days
  • Average weaning age
    42 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    456 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male
    456 days



Pipistrellus pipistrellus have two types of echolocation calls, a short call of 4 ms between the range of 80-58kHz, and a longer duration call of 51kHz which lasts for 10ms. These calls are used in locating and hunting for prey, as these bats do not rely heavily on their eyesight. Members of this species been observed to migrate, even though most populations located in central Europe are sedentary. If there is migration, the distance between the summer and winter roosts can be anywhere between 10-25 kilometers.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Like other microchiropterans, Pipistrellus pipistrellus uses echolocation to locate its prey. It usually follows a set flight path each day, hunting over ponds and gardens where insects are usually located. The Common pipistrelle feeds on mosquitos, small moths and other insects.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Like other bat species, the Common Pipistrelle is an important aspect of ecological systems. They are important predators of insects, helping to keep insect populations in check.

Conservation Status

The Common Pipistrelle is endangered in Austria and Germany, even though it is very common in other areas of Europe. It is important to protect the maternal roosting sites in order to ensure the continual survival of this species.


Jennifer Kuester (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

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bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

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seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


mature spermatozoa are stored by females following copulation. Male sperm storage also occurs, as sperm are retained in the male epididymes (in mammals) for a period that can, in some cases, extend over several weeks or more, but here we use the term to refer only to sperm storage by females.


uses touch to communicate

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


Lawlor, T. 1979. Living Mammals. Mad River Press.

Schober, W., E. Grimmberger. 1997. The Bats of Europe and North America. Neptune, NJ: TFH Publications.

Vaughn, T., J. Ryan, N. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. New York: Saunders College Publishing.