Illustrated identification key to the bats of Europe

By Christian Dietz & Otto von Helversen
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PREFACE Since the identification key on the European bats published by VON HELVERSEN in 1989 a surprising number of new species has been discovered in Europe1) with the number of species rising from 31 to 39 in 2004. This rapid development in taxonomy and systematics has made it harder for field biologists to identify living bats, especially in the Mediterranean area. Most of the newly discovered cryptic species are closely related to one or more long known species. In some of these species groups identification has been problematic for many years and species assignment could only be solved by the aid of modern molecular methods. But the analysis of genetic characters is an inappropriate method for most field studies. Our new key on the European bats was written mainly for biologists aiming to identify captured living bats which would be released after identification. The first part of the identification key is written mainly for students and beginners in the studies of bats, as most of the groups can be identified quite easily. The separated keys to the more difficult groups are addressed mainly to the more experienced field workers to help them when faced with an unknown species or with the most difficult groups of very similar bats. However, not all characters of the newly described species are currently known in their full variability and furthermore some taxonomic questions are not finally clarified.
Therefore we have chosen an electronic publication which is easier to update with new characters or newly described species. This will ensure that the identification key remains up to date. We would like to encourage all bat workers using our key to tell us about their experiences and to pass on their comments and thus help us keep the key up to date.


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Megabats and Microbats: Illustrated identification key to the bats of Europe
Illustrated identification key to the bats of Europe
Megabats and Microbats
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