A SPECIES of bat has been discovered in the UK for the first time.
A male Geoffroy’s bat, which is usually only found in continental Europe, was found by an ecologist carrying out a survey on National Trust land in the South Downs in West Sussex.
The species, which weighs between six and nine grams, is usually found on the edge of woodland scrub and grassland.
Consultant ecologist and bat expert Daniel Whitby said: ‘It was a real surprise to catch this bat.
‘Geoffroy’s bat is nicknamed the notch-eared bat because it has a distinctive notch in the top part of its ear, with this, along with other identification features, I quickly realised what an interesting bat I was holding.
‘It may be that this individual is part of a colony or it may be another example of a new species moving in from the continent.’
There are 17 known species of bat breeding in the UK.
National Trust conservation adviser Crispin Scott said: ‘We don’t know whether it’s part of a colony.
‘It is more likely to be one that has travelled a long distance.’