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Emergence Behaviour of the Serotine Bat (Eptesicus Serotinus) Under Predation Risk

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Emergence activity of a maternity colony of Eptesicus serotinus was monitored from May to August 1997 and 1998 at Střelice, Czech Republic. We focused mainly on the impact of predation risk on emergence parameters, but the effects of reproductive and climatic factors were assessed too. Observations were made with 10-days intervals during two consecutive nights from which the first was a control and the second a treatment night. On treatment nights a stuffed specimen of Tyto alba (in 1997) or Falco tinnunculus (in 1998) was placed close to the roost exits and recorded calls of the particular species were played back towards the roost. In 1997 the bats emerged earlier during lactation than during gravidity, while in 1998 the trend was opposite. This could be explained by a different course of food availability in each year. During poor weather the number of emerged bats decreased and bats probably used an alternative roost. The predation risk did not affect the values of any emergence parameter but induced changes in relationships among emergence parameters. When bats emerged earlier and thus were exposed to increased potential predation pressure, they increased their degree of clustering to decrease the probability of being attacked. The perception of predation risk was not affected by weather conditions or reproductive period.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic. , Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic. E-mail:, Email:; 2: Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic., Email:


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