Saturday 25 February 2012

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, which makes it likely that there are many more species yet to be discovered, though it is also likely that many of these unnamed bats may be at risk due to habitat loss.

In a paper in the February edition of the Journal of Mammalogy a team of scientists lead by Vu Dinh Thong of the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources in Hanoi describe the discovery of a new species of Leaf-nosed Bat from Vietnam.

The new species has been named as Hipposideros griffini, or Griffin's Leaf-nosed bat (in Vietnamese Dơi nếp mũi Grip-phin) in honour of the late Donald Redfield Griffin of Rockefeller University in New York, a noted bat researcher.

Griffin's Leaf-nosed Bat, Hipposideros griffini. Thong et al. (2012).

The new bat is not described from newly discovered populations, but rather from populations formerly attributed to another species, Hipposideros armiger (Armiger's Leaf-nosed bat), which it closely resembles, although H. griffini is somewhat smaller, and has a distinct call. DNA analysis confirmed that it was a distinct species, separate from H. armiger and other species of Leaf-nosed Bat.

H. griffini was found at a number of locations, including both primary rainforest, disturbed/secondary rainforest, mountains, karst (eroded limestone terrain), and on an off-shore island, Cat Ba in Ha Long Bay. As such the species seems highly adaptable, and not in any immediate threat due to human activity. Thong et al. suggest that the species is likely to be found in Cambodia, China, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand as well as in Vietnam, although they are unable to confirm this without further research.