We've got big news!!!
New paper alert! We report 10 new bat species from previously unstudied protected forests in southeastern Nigeria, in a recent publication in the journal Acta Chiropterologica, led by SMACON's Director of Research. The discoveries were made over a four year survey conducted by Dr. Iroro Tanshi as a doctoral student in the Kingston lab at Texas Tech University.
Profiles of bat species reported from the survey that were updated daily in anticipation of the news!
Eidolon helvum, Straw-colored Fruit Bat
Eidolon helvum, the Straw-colored Fruit Bat forms large congregations, has a mostly pan-African range and is known for long distance migration. Many urban areas have large colonies that command awe when these bats fill the skies as they take to flight nightly to forage, dropping seeds and planting trees across the landscape. Yes, bats are heroes for climate, other wildlife and people. According to urban legend in Benin City, Nigeria the colony roosting at the Kings Square (city center) are the Oba's (king) messengers. They are large and thus unfortunately targeted by hunters for subsistence or income. Checkout the cool pan-African project that is tracking this species here.
Megaloglossus woermanni, Eastern Woermann’s Fruit Bat
One of two species in the genus Megaloglossus that is Africa's only nectar specialist. A slender snout and long tongue allows for efficient nectar harvesting from flowers in bloom. This species forages in the forest canopy, pollinating the flowers of many rainforest tree species. During nightly foraging, individuals visit tons of flowers on multiple trees, so an individual held in hand smells like an orchestra of flowery fragrant perfumes.
Micropteropus pusillus, Lesser Epauletted Fruit Bat
M. pusillus occurs in a wide range of habitat. However, it is predominantly a Savannah secondary forest species. It is widely distributed in West, Central and East Africa. Recent phylogenetic analysis (Hassanin et al., 2020) suggest that the species may belong to the genus Epomophorus.
Myonycteris angolensis, Angolan Soft-furred Fruit Bat
The species natural habitat includes subtropical and tropical moist lowland forests, moist savannahs, and rocky areas. It also has a broad altitudinal range, from sea level to 4000m above sea level.
Myonycteris torquata, Little Collared Fruit Bat
Typically referred to as a lowland species. M. torquarta can be found high up in canopy levels in deep forest edges. Males have a collar of hairs around their neck that ranges in color from olive to yellow. Although little is known about their reproductive behavior, the little white collared bat undergoes two birthing periods, the first which lasts from approximately August to September and the second last from February to March.
Rousettus aegyptiacus, Egyptian Rousette
The gregarious Egyptian rousette inhabits a range of habitats, from tropical to arid areas. They rely on a sufficient supply of fruit trees and suitable sites for roosting. Unlike other fruit bats, this species roost in caves as well as other similar man-made structures such as ruins, tombs, underground irrigation tunnels, and mines. It is important to highlight that this fruit bat pollinates and disperse seeds of economic importance, eg dates, figs and baobab.
Scotonycteris zenkeri, Zenker’s Fruit Bat
S. zenkeri is endemic to central and tropical Africa. Its natural habitat ranges from moist tropical and subtropical lowland forests and tropical swamps. This bat species can be distinguished from others of its kind by having pale coloured lips and 3 white patches on the head, one on the forehead, and one behind each eye. This "locally rare or very rare species" is been threatened by habitat loss.
Rhinolophus alcyone, Halcyon Horseshoe Bat
R. alcyone inhabits forests, caves, and subterranean habitats (other than caves). Its common name is derived from the large nose-leaf that is shaped like a horse shoe. As with other members of this family, the nose-leaf likely plays a major role in echolocation.
Rhinolophus alticolus, Cameroon Horseshoe Bat
R. alticolus inhabits diverse habitats, ranging from montane forest and moist savannah to rainforest savannah mosaic. It roosts singly or in small groups in caves.
Doryrhina cyclops, Cyclops Leaf-Nosed Bat
Though smaller in size, D.cyclops are very similar to H. Camerunesis. Sexual dimorphism is more pronounced as females are significantly larger than males. It is assumed that the presence of false nipples in females serves for attachment of young. Natural habitat range includes West, Central, and East Africa.
Hipposideros beatus, Benito Roundleaf Bat.
H.beatus has been recorded in several parts of Africa, mainly in central Africa. This insectivorous bat species roost during the day singly, in pairs or family groups of 2 - 4 individuals.
Hipposideros fuliginosus, Sooty Roundleaf Bat.
The natural habitats of H. fuliginosus includes subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and moist savannas. It is threatened by habitat loss.
Hipposideros ruber, Noak's Leaf-Nosed Bat
Historically thought to occur throughout tropical Africa, H. ruber is now known as a species complex, potentially comprising up to 10 species. It is distinguished from H. fuliginosus by its significantly smaller size. However, it is significantly larger than H. beatus.
Macronycteris gigas, Giant Leaf-Nosed Bat
Primarily found in the rainforest, M. gigas is the largest Macronycteris in Africa. It has a distinctive nose leaf that is divided into four cells on the posterior margin, with three or four lateral leaflets. It is widely distributed across sub-Saharan Africa.