Saturday 31 May 2014

A new species of Disk-winged Bat from Peru and Brazil.

Disk-winged Bats (Thyroptera) are small insectivorous foliage nesting Bats found in lowland moist forests from Mexico to southeastern Brazil. They are distinguished by small adhesive disks on their feet, an adaptation convergent with the Old World Sucker-footed Bats (Myzopodidae), though the two groups are (besides living on opposite sides of the Atlantic) otherwise easy to distinguish.

In a paper published in the American Museum Novitates on 27 January 2014, Paúl Valazco of the Division of Vertebrate Zoology (Mammalogy) at the American Museum of Natural History, Renato Gregorin of the Departamento de Biologia at the Universidade Federal de Lavras, and Robert Voss and Nancy Simmons, also of the Division of Vertebrate Zoology (Mammalogy) at the American Museum of Natural History, describe a new species of Disk Winged Bat from Peru and Brazil.

The new species is named Thyroptera wynneae, in honour of Patricia Wynne, artist-in-residence at the Department of Mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History for over 40 years. Thyroptera wynneae is small for a Disk-winged Bat, reaching at most 68 mm in length. It has greyish brown fur on its back, with the bases of the hairs darker than the rest of the hair; the belly fur is tri-coloured, with the basal third of each hair white in colour, the middle third light brown in colour and the upper third dark brown.

Right oblique view of the head of Thyroptera wynneae. Burton Lim in Valazco et al. (2014).

The species is described from three specimens, all of which are male, collected from northeast Peru and southeast Brazil; it is likely that the Bat is found in at least some of the intervening area.

The first specimen was found roosting with another Bat (which escaped) within a dead Cecropia leaf, beside a trail about 50 m from the Centro de Investigaciones Jenaro Herrera forestry research station about 2.5 km inland from the right bank of the Río Ucayali in the Peruvian department of Loreto. The research station is located on a terrace above a floodplain in an area of mixed primary and secondary rainforest.

Roost of Thyroptera wynneae in secondary growth at the Centro de Investigaciones Jenaro Herrera, Loreto, Peru. Two bats occupied the dark interior of this dead Cecropia leaf (arrows), which was hanging in understory vegetation by its petiole about 2 m above the ground. One specimen was captured in a butterfly net placed underneath the leaf, but the other bat escaped. Cecropia (Cecropiaceae) is a speciose genus of trees commonly found in secondary vegetation throughout the Neotropics, where hanging dead leaves like this one are abundant in the subcanopy and understory. Valazco et al. (2014).

The other two specimens were captured in ground-level mist nets at a site called Campolina about 25 km east of Marliéria in the Parque Estadual do Rio Doce in Minas Gerais State, Brazil. The Parque comprises about 36 000 hectares of semideciduous forest covered hills and small mountains, the Campolina site being located in an area of primary forest with trees reaching 20-30 m tall and an open understory.

Patricia J. Wynne at her microscope in the AMNH Department of Mammalogy. Patricia’s first mammalogical illustration appeared almost 40 years ago (in Hooper, 1975), and she has lost track of how many she has drawn since then. In addition to her technical work for museum researchers, Patricia has illustrated museum exhibition labels, numerous educational publications, and dozens of popular science books. She is now busier than ever in semiretirement. Denis Finnin in Valazco et al. (2014).

See also…

New World Nectar-Feeding Bats (Phyllostomidae) evolved separately from the Nectar-Feeding Bats of the Old World (which may themselves represent more than one evolutionary lineage). They...

 New species of Bat discovered in Vietnam.

Bats are the second largest group of mammals, with about 1240 known extant species; 20% of all named mammal species are bats. They are at their most diverse in the tropics, and tend to be small...

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