BCT (The Bat Conservation Trust) and Professor John Altringham and Professor Roger Butlin (Universities of Leeds and Sheffield respectively) have today confirmed the discovery of a “new” species of bat in the UK.
Alcathoe’s bat (Myotis alcathoe) has been found at swarming sites (sites where bats gather to mate in the autumn before going into hibernation) in the North York Moors and in Sussex but is likely to be present elsewhere in the UK. The wide separation of the sites where it has been found strongly suggests that the species is not a new arrival but has been present, but unidentified, for some time. Alcathoe’s bat is very similar to whiskered and Brandt’s bats (two species which are themselves almost impossible to differentiate in the field) and its similarity to these species has meant that it has simply gone unnoticed in the past.
Further details of this exciting discovery can be found at:
Genetic analysis led to the discovery of Alcathoe’s bat but developments in detector technology are also advancing our knowledge of bats in the UK all the time.
Now, I wonder what odds the bookmakers are giving on Northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii) being found as a native in the next few years?