Discover Microbats

Nine microbat species occur within the metropolitan Adelaide area, but because they are small, nocturnal and difficult to detect, few people notice them!
Specialised equipment and training is required to decipher their echolocation signals, come along to our bat workshops to learn about how scientists record and understand bat calls.

We ran four community workshops with local bat researcher Dr Annette Scanlon, under the guidance of local bat expert, Terry Reardon (SA Museum). At the first three workshops, we discussed the local bats and their role in the ecosystem, how to monitor bats, provided a hands-on trial of using the bat detection equipment, and installed two bat detectors to collect data in the days after.

The first three workshops were held at:

A fourth workshop was then held to show how to analyse the data collected at the previous three workshops, as well as to present the results of the monitoring.

  • The Joinery (City of Adelaide), Monday 22nd August, 2016, 6pm


  • We recorded at least five microbat species during the microbat workshops
  • At least three species were found at each site; forest bat activity was particularly high at Warriparinga Wetlands where large river red gums provide abundant roosting resources
  • Few roosting resources were available at Kaurna Park Wetlands and a targeted bat box program there would enhance further the site attractiveness to bats
  • The Adelaide Botanic Gardens recorded five species, including the chocolate wattled bat which was not recorded at the other sites
  • Given the wintry conditions of Science Week, our surveys represent bat activity and richness at sites during low resource times (i.e. limited insect food)
  • Wintering habitat is vital for microbats demonstrating the importance of these sites; we expect activity would increase in other seasons, and hope to continue to collect data and build-up a picture of bat activity and biodiversity in urban parks and reserves
  • Many thanks to our enthusiastic workshop participants and to the site and facilities managers
Kaurna Park Wetlands Warriparinga Wetlands Adelaide Botanic Gardens
Weather conditions:Min temp; rain; wind 5.4-6.1°C0-0.2 mm9-19 km/h 4.9-9.3°C0-2.4 mm17-24 km/h 7.5-8.9°C4-16 mm26-39 km/h
Habitat Open/water Open/water Open/water
No. call sequence files (index of activity) 45 1,470 115
No. bat species 3 4 5
White-striped free-tail bat X X X
Yellow-bellied sheath-tailed bat
South-eastern free-tailed bat X X X
Gould’s wattled bat X X X
Chocolate wattled bat X
Western broad-nosed bat
Southern/Large forest bat X1 X
Lesser long-eared bat2

1Note that we could not determine whether echolocation calls were from the southern forest bats or from large forest bats, so the record is for forest bats, Vespadelus species

2Lesser long-eared bats are common in South Australia, including in urban and parkland environments; however, they are difficult to detect with recorders. We expect that this bat species would also use these parks


These workshops were supported by…

University of South Australia South Australian Museum
National Science Week Inspiring Australia