Alcathoe's bat

Alcathoe's bat (Myotis alcathoe) is Britain's newest bat. Its presence was only announced in April 2010, and the species was first described in Greece in 2001.

Alcathoe's bat is very closely related to whiskered and Brandt's bats, and since these two bats are very similar it is likely that Alcathoe's bat has gone unnoticed for many years. It is is the smallest of the "whiskered" bats and, of all the European Myotis bats. Its preferred habitat is small wooded valleys with deciduous trees.

The new bat was identified through mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analysis and was found in woodlands in the North York Moors National Park and the South Downs of Sussex. Given this wide separation it is likely that Alcathoe's bat is present in many other locations as well. Although first identified by DNA analysis, it is also possible to identify Alcathoe's bat from its echolocation call. The call terminates between 43-46 kHz which is significantly higher than the calls of whiskered and Brandt's bats.

The name Alcathoe (pronounced "Al-cat-ho-e") is taken from ancient Greek myth where Minyas' daughter, Alcathoe, spurned Dionysus who responded by turning her into a bat.