Eastern pipistrelles are small bats with yellowish-brown fur. The individual hairs of these bats are tricolored, the base is dark, the middle is yellowish brown, and the tips are dark. This is used to distinguish them from similar species such as western pipistrelles.
In the fall, when these bats have stored fat for hibernation, they weigh around 7.5 grams. In the spring, after they've come out of hibernation, they weigh about 5 grams. Like most bats, female eastern pipstrelles are larger than males. (Farney and Fleharty, 1969; Fugita and Kunz, 1984; Schmidly, 1991; Whitaker and Hamilton, 1998)
Eastern pipistrelles are found mainly in the eastern United States. They are also found in the far eastern parts of Mexico and Central America. These bats are from Canada in the north, and northern Honduras in the south (Fugita and Kunz, 1984). (Fugita and Kunz, 1984)
Eastern pipistrelles are found in open woods near the edges of water. They often fly over water while hunting. These bats are not usually found in open fields or deep forests (Schmidly, 1991; Nowak, 1991).
Eastern pipistrelles roost in rock crevices, caves, buildings, and tree foliage in the summer. During the winter, they hibernate in caves, mines, and deep crevices (Briggler and Prather, 2003; Sandel et al., 2001). (Briggler and Prather, 2003; Nowak, 1991; Sandel, et al., 2001; Schmidly, 1991; Briggler and Prather, 2003; Nowak, 1991; Sandel, et al., 2001; Schmidly, 1991)
Eastern pipistrelles mate between August and October while “swarming” in front of cave openings. This is the only time the males and females of this species are together. (Whitaker and Hamilton, 1998)
After they mate, female eastern pipistrelles store sperm while they hibernate. Fertilization and pregnancy occur in the spring (Nowak, 1991). Eastern pipistrelle females usually give birth to twins in late May or early June. Although the young are born hairless, blind, and totally dependent upon their mothers, they weigh up to 52% of the mother's body weight. They develop rapidly, and within several weeks, are able to fly and hunt on their own. Young are able to make a clicking sound to signal their mothers. (Fugita and Kunz, 1984; Hill, 1992; Nowak, 1991; Whitaker, 1998; Wimsatt, 1945)
Female eastern pipistrelles carry their babies to different roosts. Males do not help rear the young. Within one week the young are covered in fur. At 3 weeks they are able to fly. The young are weaned at 4 weeks and begin to forage with their mothers. At 5 weeks the young are independent from their mothers. Juveniles reach sexual maturity within 3 to 11 months. (Fugita and Kunz, 1984; Nowak, 1991; Whitaker, 1998)
Eastern pipistrelles must hibernate, even if they live in warm climates. They enter their hibernation chamber in late July-October and leave at the beginning of April. They hibernate in the deepest part caves where temperatures are stable all winter. Eastern pipistrelles generally hibernate alone, but groups of 2 or 3 have been observed in Texas caves. This behavior is unusual, since most bats huddle in groups during hibernation. Eastern pipistrelles might choose to hibernate in places near forests and prefer caves with east facing openings.
During the summer, female eastern pipestrelles roost together in groups of about 15 individuals, wheseas males roost alone. Females roost together so that their young can cluster and keep warm while the their mothers are out hunting.
Eastern pipistrelles have short, "fluttery" flight patterns, and are often mistaken for moths.
Like many bats, eastern pipistrelles use sound to navigate and find their food ("echolocation" or "sonar"). They are not blind, but do not have very good vision as compared to their ability to "see" the world by listening to the echoes produced when their calls bounce off of objects. (Briggler and Prather, 2003; Fugita and Kunz, 1984; Patterson and Hardin, 1969; Sandel, et al., 2001; Schmidly, 1991; Whitaker and Hamilton, 1998; Whitaker, 1998)
At this time there is no information available regarding the home ranges of P. subflavus.
Eastern pipistrelles arevery good at navigating with sound. They produce calls at pitches much higher than the range of human hearing. These calls bounce off of objects as echoes. Based upon the sound and return time of the echoes, the bats can determine the size, shape, position, texture, and movement of nearby objects. Echolocation is a very effective way to hunt for insects and avoid obstacles in the dark of night.
Eastern pipistrelles also produce social calls, which are within the range of human hearing. For example, mothers can identify their young from the sound of their young's call. The young also recognize their mother's call. That's very important when a mother returns to a roost with the young of many other females in it. (Fugita and Kunz, 1984; MacDonald, et al., 1994; Pfalzer and Kusch, 2003; Fugita and Kunz, 1984; MacDonald, et al., 1994; Pfalzer and Kusch, 2003)
Although not specifically mentioned in any references, some communication must occur between a mother and her young through touch. Tactile communication may also occur between mates.
Eastern pipistrelles eat a variety of insects such as beetles, hoppers, flies and mosquitoes, bees and wasps, moths, lacewings, mayflies, bugs, barklice and caddisflies. Their diet varies geographically.
Becausethey use flight and echolocation, eastern pipistrelles are good hunters. Eastern pipistrelles are able to consume 25% (1.4 g to 1.7 g) of their body weight (5.3 g to 6.7 g) within half an hour. (Carter, et al., 2003; Gould, 1955; Griffith and Gates, 1985; MacDonald, et al., 1994)
At this time there is no information regarding the natural predators of P. subflavus. Eastern pipistrelles are often killed by humans. Generally, bats are most vulnerable to predators during the day, while they are in their roosts. (Whitaker and Hamilton, 1998)
Eastern pipistrelles are insectivores and help control the populations of the insects they consume.
Eastern pipistrelles sometimes inhabit human dwellings and may be considered un-welcomed guests. (Whitaker, 1998)
Eastern pipistrelles eat many insects that may be harmful to humans.
This species is not considered threatened at the global or national levels, but it is a species of special concern in the state of Michigan.
Temperate North American bats are now threatened by a fungal disease called “white-nose syndrome.” This disease has devastated eastern North American bat populations at hibernation sites since 2007. The fungus, Geomyces destructans, grows best in cold, humid conditions that are typical of many bat hibernacula. The fungus grows on, and in some cases invades, the bodies of hibernating bats and seems to result in disturbance from hibernation, causing a debilitating loss of important metabolic resources and mass deaths. Mortality rates at some hibernation sites have been as high as 90%. (Cryan, 2010; National Park Service, Wildlife Health Center, 2010)
Matthew Wund (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Maria Hamlin (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor, instructor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
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.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
The process by which an animal locates itself with respect to other animals and objects by emitting sound waves and sensing the pattern of the reflected sound waves.
animals that generate their own body heat through metabolic processes.
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
animals that have little or no ability to regulate their body temperature, body temperatures fluctuate with the temperature of their environment, often referred to as 'cold-blooded'.
the state that some animals enter during winter in which bodily functions slow down, reducing their energy requirements so that they can live through a season with little food.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
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.
uses sound above the range of human hearing for either navigation or communication or both
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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