Roosting, Social Organization and the Annual Cycle in a Kenya Population of the Bat Pipistrellus nanus


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, Gainesville Field Station, 412 NE 16th Ave., Gainesville, Florida 32601, U.S.A.


The tiny (3.1–3.8 g) vespcrtilionid bat Pipistrellus nanus was studied in Kenya palm-thatched roofs from May 1973 to July 1974. Roosting social organization and related activities and behavior are described. ♂♂ held diurnal roosting territories where ♀♀ gathered in small and compositionally labile groups, attracted to the most vocal ♂♂. Annual variation in population-wide aspects of social organization follows predictable seasonal changes in climate and predator abundance. Variability between individuals follows a common mammalian pattern: high male competition for ♀, variance in presumed male reproductive success, and a mating system resembling one based on resource defense polygyny. Social organization in this population contrasts with that known from studies of other P. nanus populations.