White-striped Bat Anonymous

White-striped Bat

Austronomous australis

Did You Know?

  • These bats are also called ‘mastiff’ bats because their wrinkled facial features resemble those of a mastiff dog
  • They can fold their tail up in flight to reduce drag
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It has dark brown to black fur with a bright white-stripe at the junction of the body and wings. Some individuals also have an area of white-fur on the chest.

One of the largest insectivorous (microbats) in Australia, it is in the ‘free tail’ family (Molossidae) which have a strong, stiff tail projecting beyond the tail membrane.

The species was formerly classified as Tadarida australis.

Size

85 - 100 mm head and body length; free tail extends 40 to 55 mm from the body. Adult average weight 37 g.

Behaviour

Call

Unlike other microbats part of the White-striped Bats echolocation call is audible. Most people with reasonable high frequency hearing can identify its distinctive metallic ‘ting ting’ once they’ve been tuned in.

Diet

Insects.

Movement

It is a fast flyer and tracks the open space above the tree canopy. Its speed gives it a wide foraging range and as a result it is one of the few bats routinely encountered over urban areas.

However, the speed with which it flys means it is more often heard than seen.

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What to Observe

  • Absent (if you cannot hear it)

  • Present (if you can hear the ting ting call)

  • The number of calls in a 10 minute period in "How Many"

Climate Adaptations

The large flight muscles in this species generate significant heat and impose a temperature limit on activity and foraging time. During summer White-striped Bats are restricted to areas where the mean monthly minimum (night time) temperature does not exceed 20°C. These conditions exist over most of the south-west of Western Australia but this situation is anticipated to change quite rapidly as the result of human-induced climate change. As nocturnal temperatures rise the foraging period available for these bats will be reduced. The initial response may be the cessation of breeding activity. The next will be a contraction in summer range towards the south coast of the State.

The White-striped Bat is easy to detect and its behaviour, distribution, migratory timing and population size are all potential indicators of climate change.

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When and Where

When To Look

  • Listen around 90 minutes after dark, later on really warm nights
  • Counts of the number of calls (over 10 minutes) may be a useful index of activity levels
  • 'Absent' is just as important to record as 'Present' (this will change seasonally)

Where To Look

  • During summer months (breeding period) all records were from south of 29°S latitude
  • During winter months some of the population moves northward into the arid zone as far north as the Great Sandy Desert and Broome
  • Occasionally visits Tasmania
  • Grassy paddocks, near dams or under street lights, although can be heard almost anywhere if present
  • A quiet area with an open sky
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What Else?

Similar Sounds

Some crickets and cicadas produce sounds at similar frequencies. However these calls are static not moving across the sky at speed.