Songflight behaviour and mating system of the pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) in an urban habitat
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The songflight and the territorial behaviour of courting male pipistrelles (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) were observed in an urban habitat of this bat species, in the city of Bayreuth in Bavaria. (1) Within the city limits, from the middle of July to the end of October but most intensively in September, the male bats occupied courtship territories averaging about 200 m in diameter. At night they patrolled these territories along regular flight routes emitting characteristic advertisement calls. By day they sheltered in crevices in buildings. (2) The courtship territories were densely distributed in the center of the inner city and rarer at the outskirts. As all known larger winter roosts as well as the ‘invasion centers’ (typical late summer swarming sites of this species) also were in the inner city, territories were situated around winter quarters, but not in the vicinity of the nursery roosts, which were lying at the edge of the city and outside it. (3) The males evidently arrange their courtship territories in such a way that as many females as possible pass through them when they inspect the winter roosts. That is, they are not defending resources important to the females; instead, they position their courtship territories near the resources the females require. As male territories are densely packed, the males offer a possibility for mate choice to the females, so that the mating system also bears some likeness to a lek.
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