Just read in the Times about the discovery of Alcathoe's bats- an inch long- in Britain. The article implied they were native to continental Europe and were first discovered in Greece. Did these tiny bats just fly across the English Channel? Accidentally? I assume that bats eat insects and there would not be enough food in the 'airspace' above the Channel for them, and that they would stick to areas where they could find food.
Coo, brand new stuff!
The fact that Myotis alcathoe was first separated as a species from the Brandt's / Whiskered complex in Greece in '01 is not hugely relevant, they could be all over the place but not identified as a separate species (cf. soprano pipistrelle). It could be (but this is just speculation on my part) that they have been part of Britain's native fauna since the last ice-age and the land bridge existed (like the other 'native' species?? We don't know), rather than a recent immigrant. Lots more research is required on everything about this new species, it is an exciting time.
I'm presuming the BCT (bats.org.uk) may be looking into this in a big way, trying to get surveys set up. Even if they aren't, get involved with some of their surveys anyway, there will be somewhere near you (yes, all of you - unless you're out at sea) that can be happily surveyed for bats, it is a fine way to spend a couple of evenings! Ok, plug over!!
Of course there are lots of ways a bat could cross the open water of the channel. It is posisble that it flew over, or was taken by high winds ro a storm, or even hitched a ride on a boat. It might not be too likely, but then it does happen occasionally as as Dave notes, while there might be lots more over here, if this is the only one, it could well be just a chance event that brought it to the UK.
It seems that M. alcothoe is really a rather scarce bat at the best of times and that at least two individuals have been found in Britain (Yorkshire & Sussex) suggest that these are unlikley to be freak occurrences to these shores. See Dietz et al for much more information about this species (although it obviously doesn't have info on its status in Britain...) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Handbook-Bats-E amp;sr=1-1
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